An open letter to The Guardian regarding its outdated Editorial Code

Dear The Guardian,

It is with some regret that I feel compelled to inform you that your Editorial Code is out of date. I read through the latest version on your website, updated August 2011. I was dismayed to find that it referred to the Press Complaints Commission, a body that no longer exists.

I confirmed the non-existence of the PCC using Wikipedia, which I’m told can be quite accurate on occasion. The Press Complaints Commission, it seems, was replaced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation in 2014. You should probably think about giving someone the job of changing the text of your code to reflect that.

For your convenience I include some of the deletions required below.

In the section

Summary
“A newspaper’s primary office is the gathering of news. At the peril of its soul it must see that the supply is not tainted.”
Our most important currency is trust. This is as true today as when CP Scott marked the centenary of the founding of the Guardian with his famous essay on journalism in 1921.
The purpose of this code is, above all, to protect and foster the bond of trust between GNM (in print and online) and its readers, and therefore to protect the integrity of GNM and its journalism, however it is published.
As a set of guidelines this will not form part of a journalist’s contract of employment, nor will it form part, for either editorial management or journalists, of disciplinary, promotional or recruitment procedures. However, by observing the code, journalists working for GNM will be protecting the independence, standing and reputation of themselves and their colleagues. It is important that freelancers also abide by these guidelines while on assignment for GNM.
Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice
GNM — in common with most news publishers in Britain — considers the PCC’s Code of Practice to be a sound statement of ethical behaviour for journalists. It is written into our terms of employment that staff should adhere to the Code of Practice. It is published below so that all editorial staff can familiarise themselves with it — and comments in this document that relate to the PCC Code are marked with an asterisk.

Delete the following:

Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice
GNM — in common with most news publishers in Britain — considers the PCC’s Code of Practice to be a sound statement of ethical behaviour for journalists. It is written into our terms of employment that staff should adhere to the Code of Practice. It is published below so that all editorial staff can familiarise themselves with it — and comments in this document that relate to the PCC Code are marked with an asterisk.

Also delete all of Appendix 3.1 Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice, which contains sections on accuracy, the right to reply, privacy, harassment etc. etc. etc.

You should also consider varying your conditions of employment so that staff are no longer required to adhere to the Code of Practice of the now defunct organization.

While you’re at it you might also want to have look at Appendix 3.2: CP Scott’s essay published in the Manchester Guardian on the centenary of the paper’s first issue.

This appears to be quite out of date. The language is archaic and the morals and values are those of a bygone era.

Out with the old and in with the new.

This is an ideal opportunity for you to amend your code to reflect modern journalistic values, or to embrace a simple minimalism and leave those sections blank.

I thank you for your considered attention in this matter and look forward to seeing the eventual changes. No rush.

Yours patiently,

Red Pencil