AddThis SmartLayers

Inaccuracy and intrusion

Resolved complaints dealt with by the PCC in January and February 2003.

The majority of complaints made to the Press Complaints Commission, which raise a possible breach of the Code of Practice, are resolved directly between the Commission’s staff, editors and complainants.

These are either settled to the express satisfaction of the complainant following some remedial action by the editor or are not pursued by complainants following an explanation or other response from the publication.

Listed here are summaries of complaints involving the regional press which fall into the first category.

John O’Groat Journal
Mr C J G Andrews of Perthshire complained that an article inaccurately stated that he had retired from his work as a dentist for health reasons. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper published a correction.

Yr Herald
Cllr Richard Jones, of Angelsey, complained about an article reporting that he had voted to make payment in settlement to a former council employee. Actually the complainant only gave his opinion on the matter as powers of decision were delegated to a single officer. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper published a correction.

Down Democrat
A woman from County Down in Northern Ireland complained that the newspaper had provided inaccurate and biased coverage of the controversy surrounding a local school’s Christmas production of a version of the Rocky Horror Show. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper published an apology.

The Western Mail
Colin Jenkins of Pembroke complained, on behalf of Stephen van Rhyn, that an article inaccurately claimed that a rape, for which the latter was convicted, had been at gunpoint and that he had not immediately pleaded guilty to the charge. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper published a correction and apology.

Surrey Advertiser
Mr and Mrs Vazquez, the proprietors of The Watermeadows Hotel in Godalming, complained that an article reported inaccurately that a theft had occurred at their hotel. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper published a follow up piece making clear that the police, who had supplied the original information, now believed that the theft claim was bogus. It had transpired that the claimant had not stayed at the hotel on the night in question or at any time.

Chester Chroncicle
Mrs C L Bradley of Ambleside complained on behalf of her daughter that the publication of the latter’s telephone number in a reader’s letter without consent intruded into her privacy. (Clause 3)
Resolution:The editor wrote personally to the complainant, asking her to pass on his apologies for any distress that had been caused to her daughter. He also gave an assurance that the number would not appear again.

The Star (Sheffield)
Lisa Wragg, of Barnsley, complained that the newspaper had acted insensitively in its report of the inquest into the death of her cousin. Of special concern was the gratuitous reference to her cousin’s sexuality in the sub-headline. (Clause 1, 3, 5, 13)
Resolution:The newspaper’s editor sent a personal letter of apology for the distress caused by the article, indicating that his staff had been warned that unnecessary reference to a person’s sexuality was indefensible.

The Scotsman
Robert Kelly, Rector of the Berwickshire High School, complained that an article concerning a small incident between junior school pupils in a local park was inaccurately described as gang warfare between senior pupils. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper published a letter from the complainant setting out the school’s version of the incident.

Daily Record
The family of the late John McCartney complained through solicitors that reports of his funeral contained inaccurate and intrusive details obtained in an insensitive way. (Clause 1, 3, 5)
Resolution:The newspaper published an agreed letter from the complainants with an editorial note.

Evening Standard
Anna Sabine, representing the Charities Advisory Trust, complained that the newspaper had inaccurately termed a survey, which contained material her organisation had researched, an ‘Evening Standard survey’. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper amended its records to make clear that the article contained information from a survey conducted by the Charities Advisory Trust.

Down Democrat
Mary McManus, representing the Murlough Community Association, complained that the newspaper had published a misleading photograph to illustrate a local school’s Christmas production. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The published a letter from the Association and apologised for the distress caused by the article.

Sunderland Echo
Dennis McDonald of Sunderland complained that the newspaper had inaccurately reported the budget for the Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust. He suggested that the figures were inaccurate: there would be an extra £61m, not £80m, over the next three years – an increase of 21 per cent not 30 per cent. (Clause 1)
Resolution:The newspaper provided background information showing how the figures had been reached and published a letter from the complainant.

Sheffield Star
Mrs S Clough complained that a report of her niece’s death contained inaccurate and discriminatory details which compounded her family’s grief. (Clause 1, 5, 13)
Resolution:The newspaper wrote to the complainant agreeing that reference to her niece’s sexuality was insensitive, undertaking to review its procedures in such cases, and apologising sincerely for the distress caused by publication.

Back to recent stories and adjudications index

Back to the main PCC index