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.
Kenilworth Weekly News
Roger Penney, of Gosport, complained with the signed authorisation of Hubert Clee, of the Gypsy Light and Life Church, that the newspaper’s coverage of issues relating to Roma Gypsies contained inaccuracies and distortions. The complainant, who was not a traveller himself, was particularly concerned that an article had portrayed the Horse Fair and the Christian Convention as one event, when in fact they were separate.
He also argued that the claim that travellers at the Horse Fair had wreaked havoc was distorted. Further, the complainant said that letters published in the newspaper displayed prejudice. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a letter from the complainant, making clear that the Horse Fair and the Christian Convention were two separate events. The letter also expressed concern that other letters published in the newspaper demonstrated ignorance and prejudice.
The complainant set out his view that the Roma people were warm-hearted and honourable people. The editor added a footnote to the letter in the following terms:
“I accept that our coverage failed to make sufficiently clear the distinction between the Horse Fair and Christian Convention and apologise for any misleading or inaccurate impression given by our report and other comments. Correspondence on this matter is now closed.”
Rear Admiral David Cooke complained that a newspaper article on the subject of an ongoing employment tribunal was inaccurate and misleading. His secretary had made a complaint against the Ministry of Defence on the grounds of bullying, saying that she had been subject to such harassment after she had raised concerns about perks for the complainant.
Rear Admiral Cooke made clear that the allegations (both of fraud and bullying/harassment) had been rejected by independent formal investigation and subsequent appeal. He argued that the article did not properly reflect this. In addition, he said there were other inaccuracies (such as the suggestion that he lived in rent-free accommodation and had claimed money back for reupholstering sofas). (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper removed the article from the website and annotated its records with the points raised by the complainant for future reference.
A woman complained that the newspaper had identified her 16-year-old son by name after he failed to comply with a community order. She said his name would have been marked to indicate that he was a juvenile and should not, therefore, be named. (Clauses 3, 6).
Resolution: The newspaper apologised to the complainant and explained that her son’s name had been published in error after the juvenile cases were included on the list provided to it by the court. The newspaper said it had asked the court to consider eliminating all the juvenile cases from the list in the future, but recognised that this did not excuse the mistake.
The newspaper also reminded its reporters of the need for care in this area. The complaint was resolved when the editor of the newspaper wrote a private letter of apology to the complainant.
Mrs V D’Mello, of Stratford, complained that a court report which related to her son was inaccurate when it claimed that he lived at her address. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper – which made clear that the information had stemmed from official sources – outlined that a further hearing on the matter had used a different address for the complainant’s son. As such, it would be unlikely to refer to the complainant’s address in any future reporting.