07 April 2008

PCC States UGC Responsibilities

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has reiterated its views on where editors’ responsibilities begin and end with submitted material.

After revealing that online video prompted just a “handful” of complaints last year, the PCC asserted that the majority of these concerned user-generated content (UGC).

The UK organisation stated that its policy regarding users’ video puts responsibility on the editor once he or she takes the decision to publish the footage.

According to the PCC: “This places a responsibility on the editor to make appropriate checks on material before it is placed online or in the paper.”

However, the body confirmed that its rules on comments submitted by users are different since the PCC accepts that not all posts can be pre-moderated.

Last year, the commission received approximately 50 complaints about comments but did not have to intervene with most as they were dealt with by in-house procedures.

“The PCC is able to rule upon complaints about user comments only if two conditions are met: The online editor or moderator is made aware of any problems and then exercises “editorial control” by allowing the material to remain online; the complaint raises an issue under the terms of the Code.”

As well as highlighting UGC policies, the PCC showed that complaints about online stories outweighed those regarding print articles for the first time.

Reactions to the new report can be found at journalism.co.uk and holdthefrontpage.co.uk, while the original PCC piece is here.

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