Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Session 2006-07, 6 February 2007

New inquiry

Self-regulation of the press

The Committee is announcing today a new inquiry into self-regulation of the press and the efficacy of the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice, with particular reference to the recent case of illegal access to voicemail messages, the trade in personal data identified in recent reports by the Information Commissioner, and the treatment of public figures by photographers working on behalf of the press.

The inquiry will address the following questions:

- Whether self-regulation by the press continues to offer sufficient protection against unwarranted invasions of privacy;

- If the public and Parliament are to continue to rely upon self-regulation, whether the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice needs to be amended;

- Whether existing law on unauthorised disclosure of personal information should be strengthened; and

- What form of regulation, if any, should apply to online news provision by newspapers and others.

The Committee intends that this should be a short inquiry with oral evidence to be taken in early March. Written submissions are invited from interested parties; these should be sent to the Clerk of the Committee at the address below by Monday 26 February. 

Guidance on submissions

1. Our strong preference is for submissions to be in Word or rich text format ( not as a PDF document) and sent by e-mail to, although letters will also be accepted. Submissions sent by post should be sent to Kenneth Fox, Clerk of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA. Please include a contact name, postal address and telephone number in the body of the e-mail or in the letter.

2. If the submission is from an organisation rather than an individual, it should briefly explain the nature and membership of the organisation. It is helpful to the Committee if paragraphs are numbered for ease of reference and if longer submissions include an executive summary, ideally no more than one page long. Submissions should be as short as is reasonably consistent with conveying the relevant information: for most submissions, six pages can be regarded as an appropriate maximum. Further guidance on preferred format can be found at:

3. Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.

4. Please bear in mind that Committees do not normally investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.

5. Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the Committee unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.