At the same time as the PCC is
going through the motions of representing public accountability reaching out to the readers of newspapers up and down the land and asking how the Complaints Commission can be made even better than it already is, with people getting their heads together about how best to do that, moves are afoot to try and reform libel law.
It strikes me that these things are connected. They both represent, in a way, the response that members of the public have when confronted with something they don't agree with written in the press. The first option - going to the PCC - is not the same as going to Ofcom or complaining to the BBC Trust, in that in some instances you can't make general complaints about the press unless you're directly involved in the story or are a relative of someone who is; the way in which complaints are handled is not the same either. The second, more nuclear, option, is suing for libel, which has its own costs, and own pitfalls.
At the moment, it's incredibly difficult for an ordinary member of the public who is appalled by what has been written about them to get anything other than a tiny retraction on page 94, unsatisfying even if the PCC rules in their favour, and often impossible for people not directly involved with a story to complain about factual inaccuracies or misleading rubbish. Meanwhile, it's disproportionately easy for massive corporations ruining people's lives to stop a single line of truthful and accurate reporting from getting out, if they use the libel laws to their advantage.
This situation seems deeply inadequate.
*update* A working group is to be set up by the Government following the publication of a forthcoming report by the Culture, Media & Sport select committee. I don't know whether this will address the issues raised by possible PCC reform or not but it might at least give an opportunity for something to be done.