MST letter to PressBof on PCC libel settlement

The Media Standards Trust today sent an open letter to the Chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance (PressBof), the body that funds the Press Complaints Commission, raising concerns about the recent libel settlement between the PCC and Mark Lewis.

The letter asked if Press BoF could clarify four questions:

  • How much was the settlement for (including legal costs)?
  • Who paid for the settlement?
  • What are the terms of employment of the PCC Chair?
  • What action does Press BoF intend to take following the libel settlement?

Given the PCC’s recent commitments to greater transparency (most notably in the 2009 Annual Review) and its emphasis on the comparative low cost of press self-regulation as compared to other regulatory organisations, the details of the settlement are highly relevant and in the public interest.

If the costs were met by the PCC, which has a budget of approximately £2 million per annum, then this could have a significant impact on the organisation’s budget for 2010.