Below are summaries of the latest complaints involving the regional press which have been resolved between the parties involved, with help from the Press Complaints Commission.
Joyce Pinfield, of Bromsgrove, complained that an article was inaccurate in its presentation of claims made against her by her former partner. She said that the piece had failed to distinguish between established fact and disputed allegations. There were also one or two points of simple inaccuracy. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The matter was resolved when the newspaper indicated that it had removed the article from its electronic archives.
Jane English, principal of Paignton Community & Sports College, complained that an article was inaccurate when it stated that one of her students, who was pregnant, had been asked by teachers to give advice to four of her school friends who had also become pregnant. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper placed a note on its internal records indicating that the school had disputed the claim and to warn against republication. In addition, the article was removed from the newspaper’s website.
Central Somerset Gazette
Jo Pearse, care manager of Norbins House for deafblind people, complained that two articles reporting the complaints lodged by a former employee of the home had contained a number of inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims, for example that residents were made to do housework as punishment, and that only a vegan diet was available to residents. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the complainant’s letter addressing her concerns over the coverage. The letter emphasised the complainant’s view that the articles had breached the right to privacy and confidentiality of the people who lived at Norbins House. It also made clear that residents were offered a range of activities, and that menus provided a variety of food including vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat, pulses, poultry and fish.
Margaret McCluskey, of Bellshill, complained about an article that was published after she received a visit from a freelance reporter to discuss the critical comments she had made about the priest who took the service at her husband’s funeral.
The complainant said that, although she knew the man was a reporter when she invited him into her home, she spoke to him only because he would listen to her at a time when she was extremely vulnerable and consumed by grief. She said that she did not realise the conversation would lead to a published article. (Clause 4)
Resolution: The managing editor of the newspaper wrote to the complainant to explain how the article came to be published and to apologise that it had furthered her sorrow at a time of grief. The complainant accepted the newspaper’s apology making clear that she could understand its position and clarified that her concerns rested with the individual reporter, rather than the newspaper. The complaint was resolved on this basis.
Tyrone Herod, of Staffordshire, complained that an article which reported on his dismissal from his employment as a fireman contained inaccurate details. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The newspaper made clear that the information in the article was based on sources within the fire service. However, the editor gave an undertaking that it would give the complainant the opportunity to tell his side of the story once the employment tribunal – which the complainant was bringing against his former employer – had concluded. The complainant indicated that he was happy to resolve his complaint on the basis of that undertaking.
Press & Journal (Aberdeen)
Christopher McLean of Aberdeen complained that a court report had misrepresented his plea, which contained legal parlance conveying that there was no contact with the kicks to the boy’s back, or with the jotter to any part of the boy’s body. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification: Further to a recent article (‘Man hit boy with jotter in playground’, 29 June), we have been asked to make clear that Christopher McLean, of 12 Kingswood Avenue, Kingswells, Aberdeen, accepted, at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, on 28 June 2007, that he knocked a six year old boy to the ground by striking him on the face, but denied that he made any further contact with him when he then repeatedly kicked at him in the region of the lower back and struck out towards him with a jotter. This plea was accepted by the Procurator Fiscal.
AbdulHaq Addae, Media Liaison at Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, complained that an article about Sheikh Abdullah El-Faisal was inaccurate when it referred to him as the “Brixton Mosque preacher”. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification: Our article of 12 April “Jailed preacher of hate in court battle to stay in Britain” referred to Sheikh Abdullah El-Faisal as the “Brixton Mosque preacher”. El-Faisal only preached at Brixton Mosque in the early 1990s and not after the current administration was elected in 1994.
Janet Lawrence of Middlesex complained that an article had inaccurately described her as a “prostitute” who worked under the alias of “Mistress Alana”. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The newspaper said it had relied on information from an anonymous source. The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the complainant’s denial in the following clarification: Further to the article “Prostitute arrested in animal rights raid” on 10 May we would like to make clear that Janet Lawrence denies having any connection to prostitution or the Mistress Alana alias.
Tina Middleton complained that an article about the arrest of her next-door-but-one neighbours had included a picture not of the neighbours’ home but of her property. She was concerned that people who saw the article would be misled into thinking that she was involved in the incident. She also considered the inclusion of the picture to be an invasion of her privacy (Clauses 1, 3)
Resolution: The matter was resolved when the newspaper agreed to remove the photograph from its archive.
Gail McGreevy, Head of News at the PSNI Department of Media and PR, complained that an article had referred misleadingly to the investigation into the murder of Grace Moore. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The complainant wrote to indicate that the matter had been resolved.
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