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.
Charlotte Church complained through her representative, Mark Melton, that an article was inaccurate in claiming that she had “kicked her fiancé Gavin Henson out of their home” and that Mr Henson had subsequently moved back into his mother’s house. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The matter was resolved when the newspaper published the following statement under the heading ‘Charlotte Church': On July 10 we reported that Charlotte Church had thrown Gavin Henson out of their home. This was based on information provided by a source. Representatives of Ms Church and Mr Henson have assured us that the alleged incident never occurred. Moreover, Ms Church did not ‘move a close pal in’ and Mr Henson did not move back in to his mother’s home. We are happy to clarify the matter.
Kevin Shields, of Spalding, complained that a photograph showing the scene after a road accident where his daughter had been killed had intruded into his and his family’s grief. (Clause 5).
Resolution: Although the newspaper did not accept that the Code had been breached, the complaint was resolved when the acting editor sent a private letter to the complainant, expressing regret that the photograph had caused additional distress.
Hull Daily Mail
Carol Ledner, of Hull, complained that an inquest report about the death of her son Stephen Ledner inaccurately claimed that he had served time in prison for burglary. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification and apology: Stephen Ledner – a clarification The Mail would like to clarify that Stephen Robert Ledner, 33, who committed suicide in May, had never been convicted of burglary. Hull Coroner’s Court recently heard Mr Ledner had been released from prison and was founding hanging from a tree near the underpass in Chiswick Close, east Hull, on May 17. In a report on the inquest, The Mail stated Mr Ledner had served time in prison for burglary. In fact, he was convicted of handling stolen goods but not burglary. The Mail would like to apologise for any distress this error caused.
Gazette & Herald
Darren Harley, of Chippenham, complained about a report of his brother’s funeral on the newspaper’s website. The complainant said his family had not wanted journalists to attend the funeral and had communicated their wishes to the local media via the police. Unfortunately, the newspaper was only made aware of the family’s request once its journalists had returned from the service. However, the complainant argued that it should have taken steps to ensure that material obtained by the journalists from the funeral should not have been used in the report. The fact that it had not taken such steps demonstrated that publication had not been handled sensitively in line with the requirements of Clause 5 of the Code of Practice. (No clauses noted).
Resolution: The newspaper said that it had initially received information that its report contained some inaccuracies and it took steps to correct those points. Subsequently, the newspaper was contacted by the complainant’s father who made the family’s unhappiness plain and asked that the report be removed from the newspaper’s website. The article was duly removed. Moreover, when the funeral was reported in the newspaper itself, details were kept to a minimum.
Peter McKay, of Leominster, complained that the newspaper had published out of date contact details for Wellington Bowls Club, despite the fact that he had provided the correct information when the erroneous details had previously appeared. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The matter was resolved when the newspaper apologised for any error and indicated that the information on its website had now been corrected. Subsequently, a listings section was published in the newspaper with the right contact details.
Siencyn Langham complained that an article about his father’s conviction inaccurately claimed that his father had lived in Aberystwyth and intruded into his own privacy by publishing his place of residence. He raised concerns that this could have led to harassment. (Clause 1 and 3).
Resolution: The newspaper made the point that the complainant’s place of residence was stated in open court. However, the newspaper published a retraction making clear that the complainant’s father had never lived in Aberystwyth. The complaint was resolved on that basis.
News & Star
A woman complained that, the morning after her husband’s death, a reporter had knocked on her door and asked her son if he would like to write a tribute to his father. She was also concerned that the newspaper had published a photograph of her husband that had not been officially released, in addition to his name and details of the tragic accident, prior to the inquest. (Clause 5).
Resolution: Although the newspaper did not accept that the article or reporter had breached the Code, the complaint was resolved when the editor sent a private letter to the complainant, indicating that he would take her concerns into account when covering similar incidents in the future. The letter also set out that the newspaper was reviewing its protocols in light of the complainant’s comments.
Mary Karaolis, president of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain, complained that a feature on Northern Cyprus had contained inaccuracies, and had misrepresented the reality of the situation in the Karpas Peninsula in its claim that Greek and Turkish Cypriots lived side by side. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following letter written by the complainant:
Our Association was appalled to read your recent feature on occupied Northern Cyprus, which is inaccurate. You state that the UN partitioned Cyprus. In fact UN policy is the reunification of the island of Cyprus. The forced partitioning of Cyprus is the result of the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the continued occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkish troops. We were particularly concerned by your reference to Greek and Turkish Cypriots living side by side in the Karpas Peninsula, which we maintain completely misrepresents the reality of the situation: Rizokarpasso – which stands at the top of the peninsula – was a Greek Cypriot village of over 3,000 people prior to the Turkish invasion; the Greek Cypriot population has now been reduced to 264; Anatolian settlers from Turkey have been transported to colonize the area and occupy the homes of Greek Cypriots who fled in 1974 and are now denied access to their properties, including members of our Association. Andrew Dismore MP, who visited the area in 2006, confirmed the appalling reality of the situation and the denial of human rights to the remaining enclaved Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpasso. We will continue to strive for a solution to reunite the island and bring peace and prosperity to all the legal people of Cyprus.