Northern and Shell quit the PCC after one telling off too many

News oligarch Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell publishing group has left the Press Complaints Commission. Just upped and left it. Not been cast out, not been asked to leave. It has just quit it.

In many ways it is a bit like the company has told the PCC that it is taking its proverbial ball and is going home with it as it doesn’t want to play anymore.

It’s not like Northern and Shell hasn’t had a scolding from the PCC in the past after all. Cast your mind back a couple of years and you may remember this atrocity, where the Scottish edition of The Express was forced to apologize for chastising the survivors of the Dunblane shootings for basically being teenagers.

Also remember the case of OK magazine, who tastelessly published, what can only be described as a pre-posthumous tribute, to then not-yet-dead celeb-felch that was Jade Goody.

This development will inevitably leave readers wondering who they should complain to if they dislike or disagree with something in The Daily Express or Ok? Well, you may be stuck there.

I suppose you could always complain to the publishers themselves, although it is questionable if they’ll necessarily take heed or not. You’d hope they would at least, especially in the interests of accuracy and not just attacking people as they wish, if they wish to be considered as serious publishers (so in other words no then).

The real question however, is whether this means that Northern and Shell produced publications can now just publish flagrant lies?

Perhaps this could lead to an entertaining turn of events where OK, The Express and The Star will descend into sheer fantasy. This could be quite funny if slightly depressing simultaneously. You might end up with headlines like: Katie Price convenes with ghost of Diana; Michael Owen buys Manchester; Britain to go on tour, says Prime Minister; Alan Titchmarsh in vice shame; Water is orange, your eyes are just wrong or All hail our new King Richard Desmond!

Having said all that though what is the point of a system where you can “opt in” to a regulatory organization in the first place? It’s like kindly asking a rapist to stop raping people and hoping that he listens.

For more information on the matter this site delivers a pretty decent summary of what’s been happening so far.


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