Richard Desmond’s fleet of newspapers, including the Daily Express and Daily Star, has been excluded from the system of self-regulation that oversees the British press industry.
The decision to exclude Desmond’s fleet – made because his company (Northern & Shell) has consistently refused to pay the annual voluntary industry levy – means the papers will not be covered by the Press Complaints Commission.
The Star and Express are no strangers to the PCC spotlight, having been made to apologise for untrue stories such as a local council installing ‘Muslim only’ toilets, or inciting fear of plane crashes during the Iceland ash cloud debacle – using an image from 1982 to illustrate its point.
Baroness Buscombe, chairman of the PCC, said Northern & Shell’s insistence on not contributing to the running costs of the PCC were “disappointing”.
“This means that they will not now be able to demonstrate to their readers that they are committed to adhere to the set of standards which are independently enforced by the Commission,” she added in a statement.
The shutout also includes Desmond’s celebrity gossip magazines OK!, New and Star.
The PCC has said that it will endeavour to solve all current complaints open with the Commission, but any new complainants will now be given details of where to complain within Northern & Shell.