Organisation: Press Complaints Commission
Issue: 10th anniversary party
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) celebrated its 10th anniversary with a twist. Its star-studded guest-list featured many who have had reason to seek recourse to the PCC for alleged press infringements on their private lives.
A favoured reporting angle following the event was that of hunter and hunted bought together in glitzy celebration. The Independent's Anne McElvoy entitled her review 'The press pack and the quarry celebrate 10 years of chase' (8/2), while for The Times the guests' participation in the party was presented as a 'venture into the lions' den' (Alan Hamilton, 8/2).
Prince William proved unfazed by the notion of being prize game, and was reported to have executed his first official social event with charm and good humour. Indeed, the Prince asserted that he was happy to attend the celebration as it gave him the opportunity to thank the press for their reserve during his school days at Eton College.
Prince William's debut was seconded by that of Camilla Parker Bowles, making her first official social appearance in the company of Princes Charles and William. Although the three guests maintained a polite distance at the event, their simultaneous appearance was marked as part of the wider attempt to 'repackage' Prince Charles, who according to one Palace courtier maintained that 'the union with Camilla (is) absolutely non-negotiable' (The Observer, 11/2).
Ms Parker Bowles' debut was described by columnist James Whitaker as a 'major public relations coup' (The Express, 8/2).
The PCC and its anniversary bash did not escape negative criticism, however. The Evening Standard's Peter Bradshaw ended his review of the celebration with the conclusion 'a bizarre evening of tinselly glamour and preposterous self-importance' (8/2), while The Independent questioned the validity of a regulatory organisation which attracted only praise from the people it policed (8/2).
On the positive side, even the quietly disapproving Guardian admitted that the PCC had successfully avoided the need for statutory regulation, and had obviously had a 'positive effect on press behaviour' (Leader column, 8/2).
Of the event itself - Prince William's view prevailed. 'It was brilliant' (Daily Telegraph, 8/2).
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found at: www.echoResearch.com.