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Article 'not racist', says industry watchdog

A media watchdog has ruled in favour of the Torquay Herald Express after a complaint was made about an article.

The Newton Abbot Labour Party said a story published on October 18 was “misleading and likely to incite racism”.

It added that the opinion column on page eight of the paper “reinforces the effect of the story” and reported its concerns to the Press Complaints Commission.

The article revealed that Torbay had missed out on Government funding because it had fewer ethnic minorities than other urban areas.

The London Borough of Hackney receives a grant of £2.1m a year from the Department for Education and Skills.

But the article highlighted how Torbay’s funding problems are not recognised.

The Commission ruled that no breach of Clause 13 – which covers discrimination – could be determined by the complaint.

The PCC’s Scott Langham wrote to the Newton Abbot Labour Party and Herald Express editor Brendan Hanrahan to explain the decision.

He said: “The Commission took this decision after having reviewed your comments and they have asked me to let you know their reasons for this in more detail.

“The Commission firstly turned to the complaint under Clause 1 (Accuracy) which states that newspapers must take care not to publish inaccurate or misleading material.

“In this instance, the Commission noted that you had not indicated any direct inaccuracies within the articles.

“In regards to your assertion that the article was unbalanced, the Commission noted that it had not received a complaint from the Department of Education.

“It therefore concluded that no breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) could be established by the complaint.

“The Commission then turned to the complaint under Clause 13 (Discrimination).

“Under the terms of this Clause, newspapers must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to (amongst other things) a person’s race.

“The Commission emphasised that this Clause was designed to protect the individual and did not apply to groups of people.

“On this occasion, there were no individuals referred to pejoratively within the articles and, as such, the Commission concluded that no breach of Clause 13 (Discrimination) could be determined by the complaint.”

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