PCC condone undercover Sun journalists at Dale Farm

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) have today ruled against the complaint of Dale Farm Solidarity against the News Corp newspaper ‘the Sun’. For two months in September and October 2011, journalists from the Sun went undercover at Dale Farm, posing as legal observers.

In response to today’s ruling, Jessica Hughes of Dale Farm Solidarity said:

“Legal observing is vital in protecting the right to protest and holding the police to account for their actions. It also provides valuable and reliable information in the event of criminal charges and lawsuits. By posing undercover as legal observers for two months, the Sun effectively sabotaged the work of legal monitors at Dale Farm, and put into jeopardy future legal monitoring programmes throughout the UK.

Remarkably, in today’s ruling, the Press Complaints Commission has condoned such destructive acts. It will be now be impossible for organisations that use legal observers to know whether their observers are actually doing their job, or are instead undercover reporters.   This was the core of our complaint, and yet amazingly, in their ruling, the Press Complaints Commission did not even question whether it was necessary for Sun reporters to pose as legal observers.

One would have thought that after their mishandling of the phone-hacking scandal, the PCC would be more diligent in protecting the public from such acts of subterfuge. This ruling makes it abundantly clear that the PCC are incapable of reigning in the more extreme tendencies of the British media.  We have forwarded information concerning our complaint to the Leverson Inquiry, which is currently drafting criteria for the body that will replace the discredited PCC.  The effectiveness of self-regulating bodies such as the PCC needs to be thoroughly questioned.”

For further comment, call 07729762059.  Documents available upon request.

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