Aux entités et autorités appelées à déposer sur l'affaire MC, le Comité parlementaire posa deux questions auxquelles répondre par écrit.
1) Pourquoi le régime d'auto-régulation n'a-t-il pas été utilisé, pourquoi la PCC n'a-t-elle pas eu recours à sa propre enquête et quels changements cette affaire a-t-elle donné lieu dans l'industrie journalistique.
2) L'action pour diffamation gagnée par les MC contre l'Express Group et d'autres journaux indiquait-elle que le régime d'auto-régulation accusait une sérieuse faiblesse.
Auditions de Jeff Edwards, Sean O'Neil et Christopher Meyer - 24.03.2009
Q308 AP : Sometimes, of course, the problem lies not with the body of the text of a story but with the headline. To what extent, if your buyer pays for the story, do you, as journalists, get consulted in relation to the headline?
Q344 Philip Davies (MP Conservative) : Just on the issue of credibility, I understand the point you make is a good one, that if people want damages then they are going to have to go through the court system, but in terms of the credibility it seems that Gerry McCann said that his beef with the PCC was that the "editor of a paper which had so flagrantly libelled us with the most devastating stories could hold a position on the board of the PCC." That was his beef. Max Mosley's beef was that "they have no power" and that it was "very much a creature of the press". In terms of credibility would you accept that those kinds of feelings about the PCC are quite widespread, although nothing to do with whether somebody wants damages or not, they are actually just questioning how effective the PCC is in any event?
Q363 PF : Sir Christopher, could you tell the Committee why the editor of the Daily Express Peter Hill left the PCC board?
Q364 PF : My understanding from within the industry is that during the McCann coverage many editors felt the position of Mr Hill on the board was untenable and in effect revolted. Peter Hill offered his resignation but Richard Desmond refused in the circumstances to allow him to carry it out, is that correct?
Q365 PF : Is it correct that he offered to resign but then rescinded that offer?
Q366 PF : Events. The answer is yes.
Q367 PF : Yes definitely or yes probably.
Q368 PF : I just want to explore the position of the Express further but first of all, in retrospect, you are about to leave the PCC after long and distinguished service. On reflection do you think that the PCC could or should have acted in the McCann case better to restrain the press?
Q369 PF : You will be aware that Mr McCann told us that that message was not received.
Q370 PF : In your evidence you said to us it would have been impertinence by the PCC to have got involved sooner and contacted the McCanns directly. We put that to Gerry McCann and he told us he would not have felt that an impertinence, yet you contacted the embassy but you did not contact them directly.
Q371 PF : A lot of people reading the evidence that you have given might find that rather weak, Sir Christopher.
Q372 PF : Let me just move on.
Q373 PF : What is your view then on the suggestions that actually the PCC's operations might be improved if it were more proactive and also acted on references from third parties?
Q374 PF : Can you just clarify how the PCC acted in the instance of the story about Prince Philip in the Standard; did the PCC act after receiving a formal complaint from the palace?
Q375 PF : The PCC did not proactively offer its services before that.
Q376 PF : In the McCann case has the PCC censured the Express?
Q377 PF : On what complaint was any censure made in the McCann case? Has the PCC issued any censure at all?
Q378 PF : In conclusion, as an industry self-regulator after months of false coverage the PCC has issued no comment on the standards employed by the press in the McCann case.
Q379 PF : It is a question, has it?
Q396 PF : Sir Christopher, after your long tenure at the PCC I have no feeling at all from this session that you think in any way that the PCC either could or should be more proactive in monitoring compliance with the Code of Practice as other regulators—from the Takeover Panel to Ofsted for example—do. We have discussed the McCann case where the McCanns were complaining of irresponsible journalism and people like Sir Max Hastings were, at an early stage, professing to hang their head in shame at the way the press were behaving, and yet you did not step in.
Q397 PF : Can I give you another example of where the public might well feel that the PCC should be more proactive in monitoring the Code of Compliance. In this day and age it is the practice now—and Mr Bowdler you would know very well from your group—for newspapers to invite comments on stories. On New Year's Eve a close friend of mine lost his 16-year old son tragically in an accident and that was covered in the local newspaper in Sussex, and some of the comments that were written by people on that news were just sick really. I would suggest that one way we might proactively look at compliance with the Code is to take a snapshot of websites at any point in time and just monitor whether newspapers are complying with the Code. I do not know whether that is the sort of action you would ever consider at the PCC.
(3) auditions de Roy Greenslade et Nick Davies