Using information from an Ipsos MORI face-to-face opinion survey published last week, the MST has compiled a new report with 28 suggested reforms for the PCC's governance consultation, which closes to submissions today.
"The MST submission recognises the valuable mediation work done by the PCC, but shows that the public expect more," the media charity said.
The MST report suggests that the PCC could become a membership organisation and, "as part of the terms of membership, set out clear rules and remedies".
"This way, if a member broke the rules the repercussions would be clearer and the commission would have more power to enforce them. Currently the PCC only has the power of adjudication and no way to enforce it – other than by re-issuing its findings," MST director Martin Moore explained on his blog.
The MST also considered penalisation for publications and in the Ipsos-Mori research, 85 per cent of those surveyed said that it would be appropriate to impose fines on newspapers, in serious cases. "We did think a lot about this issue," Moore told Journalism.co.uk. "We don't think it's realistic to push [publications] to bring in financial punishment," he said.
Instead, the MST suggests grading adjudications by seriousness, and putting a financial value on each adjudication "which would be met by the newspaper publishing an apology to the equivalent advertising value".
The newspaper, therefore, would lose advertising space as a result of printing an apology.
Transparency was another key area of concern for the MST and the organisation suggests that the PCC complies with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act, "particularly in terms of transparency of funding and decision-making processes," even if not legally within the Act's remit.
This, Moore told Journalism.co.uk, would encourage the release of information about adjudications and PCC meetings, for example.
"The public wants an independent self-regulator that, in addition to mediating complaints, monitors compliance with the code and conducts regular investigations. The PCC, as currently constituted, does not and cannot do this," Moore said today.
"This submission outlines ways in which the current system can be reformed so that it can meet public expectations of independent self-regulation."
The report can be read in full at this link.