The PRCA responds to the Leveson Report

London, 10 December 2012 - The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) has today announced its response to Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press, following a consultation with members of its PR Council.

PRCA Director General Francis Ingham said: We agree that there should be a stronger independent regulatory body. But we do not agree that there is a need for legislative underpinning, nor for Ofcom or any other statutory body to recognise the work of the regulator. 

“Statutory underpinning to deal with a handful of recalcitrant journalists in an industry which broadly functions well would be the proverbial sledge hammer to crack a nut. The majority of our press act responsibly already and will continue to do so.

“A free press holds the PR industry and those that it represents to account, and we believe that the healthiest environment for our industry is one where there is public trust in our communications.’

Ingham’s comments follow a survey of 110 PRCA members which found that over half of respondents favoured either a non-statutory newspaper ombudsman (26%) or launching a new Press Complaints Commission with tougher powers (31%), over statutory underpinning.

Ingham added the following points - on social media:

“We believe that Leveson has missed the elephant in the room: social media is a minefield and governance needs to catch up. If you want to clean up journalism, you need to tackle online content too, or you just shift the problem online and create a two tier system.”

On the relationship between the press and politicians:

“The media and journalists are formidable lobbyists, but there is a genuine difficulty in distinguishing where media organisations are engaging with politicians as corporate lobbyists and where they are engaging with politicians in the pursuit of news.

“This is where the Government’s proposals for a statutory register of lobbying can help. The PRCA is at the forefront of pushing the Government to make good on their promise to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists as a way to promote greater transparency, and in a way where it is the ‘act of lobbying’ that triggers the need to register.

“Thus anyone lobbying rather than reporting would be required by law to register themselves as a lobbyist, including editors, CEOs and MDs of media organisations.

“However, it is important that media businesses are treated in the same way as all other organisations looking to influence policy, politics and politicians, because there shouldn’t be one rule for media businesses and a different rule for other companies.” 

On the relationship between the press and the police:

“Regarding the suggestion that press officers should be present in all meetings between senior police officers and the press on policy or organisational matters, we think it makes sense to have a communications professional involved wherever possible, although it may not be feasible for them to be present at every meeting.”

 

-ENDS- 

Notes to editors

For more information about the PRCA and the Leveson Report, please contact Matt Cartmell at matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk.

 
About the PRCA
 
Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.
 
What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.
 
How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.
 
Who we represent: The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 300 agency members from around the world, including the majority of the top 100 UK consultancies. We also represent over 100 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.
 

 

 

 

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