23 July 2014

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Regional daily apologises after identifying child victim

The Hull Daily Mail issued an apology after identifying an eight-year-old child as the victim of a violent attack.

The child’s mother complained to the Press Complaints Commission over a story which named her son as a victim of violence at the hands of a young offender and which also published their address.

They were living in a supported housing scheme and were concerned the publication of their address would compromise their safety.

The Mail explained that the victim had been named on the offender’s ASBO document, which had given no indication that he was a child, and that had it known this, it would not have identified him.

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper wrote a private letter of apology to the complainant.

Here is a round-up of other recent PCC cases involving local and regional newspapers

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A woman v Western Daily Press

A woman complained under Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) about a report of an inquest into the death of her brother-in-law. The complainant was concerned that the article contained intrusive information, and that the reporting had been insensitive.

The matter was resolved when the newspaper wrote privately to the complainant, apologising for any distress caused to the deceased’s family.

A woman v North Devon Journal

A woman complained under Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 3 (Privacy) about a photograph published alongside an article reporting that Complete Quality Care Ltd had been announced as a winner of the North Devon Journal local business accelerators (LBA) scheme. The complainant, who no longer worked at the company, was concerned that the image inaccurately suggested that she was still an employee there. She was also concerned that her consent had not been sought to use the picture.

The matter was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of an apology, making clear that the complainant was no longer working at the company.

Smith v Tamworth Herald

Mr Smith, on behalf of Gaoh Energy Ltd, complained that the newspaper had published an article in breach of Clause 1 Accuracy) of the Code: the company did not have plans to install a wind turbine, rather it planned to install a meteorological wind monitoring mast.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the online article and the publication of the following statement on page 7 of the print edition:

We reported (8 March) that Gaoh Energy Ltd planned to install a wind turbine on land next to Austrey House Farm, in Orton-on-the-Hill. We are happy to make clear that Gaoh Energy plan to install a meteorological wind monitoring mast and not a wind turbine. We would like to apologise for any confusion that our report may have caused.

A man v Huddersfield Daily Examiner

A man complained that the newspaper had published an article reporting on an accusation of a sexual offence against him but had not made clear that he had not been found guilty, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code.

The newspaper said that the outcome had been reported in the print edition but not online, and the complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the online article.



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