THE country’s newspaper watchdog is to host a public open day in Southampton to discuss press standards.

The Daily Echo backed event will give members of the public the chance to find out about the work of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and raise any concerns about newspaper or magazine articles.

Its code of practice covers issues such as intrusion, discrimination, harassment and inaccurate reporting.

Members of the public will get to grill a panel about any aspect of the press or the PCC’s system of self-regulation.

The question and answer session will be hosted by PCC chairman Baroness Buscombe.

Panel members will include PCC director Stephen Abell, PCC member Simon Sapper from the Communication Workers’ Union and Southern Daily Echo editor Ian Murray, who sits on the PCC’s Editors’ Code of Practice Committee.

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The PCC has held two public open days a year since 2003 to raise awareness of its work as an independent body and gauge public opinion about press regulation.

Topics discussed in the past have included the powers and sanctions available to the PCC, the prominence in newspapers and magazines of corrections and apologies negotiated by the PCC, and the degree of independence of the PCC.

The free event will also include an open surgery for the public to have an informal chat with a senior member of PCC staff.

Baroness Buscombe said: “I am delighted to be hosting this public event in Southampton.

“It is important that the PCC listens to, and engages with, people from all over the UK, and I hope that as many people as possible will come along to join in the debate.

“The PCC offers a wide range of services, entirely free to the public, and we are looking forward to advising anyone with a concern relating to the press how we might be able to help them.”

Previous events have been held in Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, Leeds, Ipswich and Nottingham.

The PCC dealt with 37,000 enquiries by telephone, fax and email last year.

The Southampton open day will be held at the main gallery of the Southampton City Art Gallery on Tuesday, November 9 from 1.45pm.

No tickets are required but those interested in attending can contact Tonia Milton on 020 7831 0022 or email

Echo Editor Ian Murray on the PCC

THE Daily Echo is delighted to be acting as host to the Press Complaints Commission next month here in Hampshire.

The PCC is a body that acts as a guardian for the public against excesses of the press, perceived or actual.

Naturally I would say that this paper adheres to the PCC’s Code of Practice in full, both in spirit as well as actual deeds. We believe – I believe – passionately that a free and vibrant press is important to the health of our local democracy.

But we also believe that a free press must act in a responsible manner if it is to earn the respect and trust of those it serves – you the people.

I hope that many of you will take up the opportunity to attend the open day at Southampton on November 9 and take the opportunity to learn more about the PCC and have your say on this important issue.