More complaints were made about newspapers and magazines in 2007 than in any other year, the press watchdog has said.

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) said it received 4,340 complaints in the last 12 months, up 31 per cent on 2006.

A report explained several high-profile cases were behind the unprecedented rise.

More than 140 people complained over a sticker of model Katie Price's son Jordan being offered on the cover of Heat magazine.

The sticker included the words "Harvey wants to eat me!" and led to the magazine apologising and making a donation to charity.

Harvey, five, suffers from the rare septo-optic dysplasia disorder that causes blindness and weight problems.

And 485 complaints were received over an inflammatory comment in the Daily Mirror from Tony Parsons over the Portuguese police investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

In the editorial he told the Portuguese ambassador to "keep your stupid, sardine-munching mouth shut".

Commenting on the record number of complaints, PCC chairman Sir Christopher Meyer said they reflected the "growing confidence" among the public to protest at press publications.

"Beyond this, we placed an increased emphasis in 2007 on sorting out problems before publication, which could otherwise have led to a formal complaint," he added.

"This included in particular deploying our anti-harassment service and dispersing media scrums."


16/01/2008 11:57:10