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Press Complaints Commission is to be scrapped in wake of phone-hacking scandal

The Press Complaints Commission is to be scrapped - after 21 years - in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.

Media Guardian reports that its demise closes “one of the most controversial chapters in the history of self regulation of the UK newspaper industry.

“The watchdog, which was fatally wounded by its response to the phone-hacking scandal, has confirmed that it will formally close and be replaced with a transitional body which will take charge of press regulation until a new system is set up in the wake of the Leveson inquiry.”

The long-term replacement for the PCC is not expected to running for at least a year and may not be in place until 2014 if statutes are needed for a proposed arbitration unit offering a libel resolution service.

An accelerated shutdown of the PCC was agreed earlier this year and formally approved at a meeting of the commission yesterday

The new PCC chairman, Lord Hunt, told Sky News at the end of last month that a decision in principle to move to a new body had been taken.

In that interview, he said: "So we're very much now on the front foot and listening to all sides and determined to bring forward the sort of independent self-regulatory structure that everyone will approve of".

The name of the new body and its structure have not been finalised but Hunt said the parts of the PCC that had worked would be retained, including the complaints resolution service.

"I'm determined that we should make sure that we still keep those procedures which 80% - 85% of people who have used them have found so helpful – pre-publication action and various other ways," he said.

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Hamish Mackay

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