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.
Tristan Greville, of Polperro, complained that an article which referred to an image he had taken while at sea contained inaccuracies. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification and apology:
“Our article published on August 15 entitled ‘Fresh photos of shark are totally dismissed by experts’ referred to a story that appeared in The Sun newspaper, with an image sent in by Polperro trawlerman Tristan Greville. We wish to point out Mr Greville took only one of the images published, that of the shark’s fin. We wish to clarify that the image was taken off the coast of Polperro during a fishing trip in May and that a marine expert quoted in the story agreed he was unsure what the photograph showed. We are happy to make this clear and apologise for any confusion which may have been caused”.
Steve Jorden, head of environmental services at Wychavon District Council, complained that an article about the potential dangers of contaminated flood water in the Midlands had misrepresented his views on the issue. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper wrote the complainant a private letter which noted his concerns and regretted any misunderstanding.
Paul Philippou, of Perth, complained that an article warning readers about a scam involving thieves working in pairs in supermarkets stated: “As is typical in crimes of this type, she was approached by two women thought to be of Eastern European origin”. (Clauses 1 and 12).
Resolution: The newspaper sought to emphasise that its intention was not to offend its readers but it agreed with the complainant that the article had been poorly phrased. The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following apology:
BEWARE OF STORE THIEVES PA/Sept 18 (P2) In the above article the PA warned readers to be on their guard after reports of con artists targetting elderly and vulnerable shoppers. Reporting on a recent incident involving a 71-year-old woman, the article said: “As is typical in crimes of this type, she was approached by two women thought to be of Eastern European origin. While one distracted her, the other stole her purse.” The article was badly phrased and the PA did not mean to imply that what was typical in crimes of this type was the involvement of Eastern Europeans. By “typical” the article meant the scam of two women working as a team, one to distract and the other to snatch. The PA would like to apologise to any readers who were offended.
Kevin Bennetts, of Consols Oils, complained that an apology published by the newspaper as part of legal settlement had contained inaccuracies. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the editor agreed to meet the complainant and three of his colleagues to discuss the matter.
Katherine Sladden, the communications officer of the National AIDS Trust, complained that the newspaper had inaccurately stated that a man had been found guilty of “deliberately” spreading HIV. In fact, he was found guilty of “culpably and recklessly” transmitting HIV which was an entirely different criminal charge (and did not suggest intent). (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper annotated its records to reflect the distinction and circulated a note to journalists reminding them of the need for accurate terminology in this area and that advice was available from the National AIDS Trust.
George Foulkes MSP, Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, complained that an article inaccurately claimed that he had voted in “only 22%” of divisions in the House of Lords. In fact, the correct figure is 72%. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper removed the article from the website and published the following apology:
“On Tuesday, 13 November, in an article headlined “The peers who work unpaid (except for the odd £60,000 expenses)” it was stated that Lord Foulkes had voted in 22 per cent of divisions in the House of Lords. This was wrong. In fact, Lord Foulkes, who is now an MSP, voted in 72 per cent of divisions which is well above average among peers. We apologise for the error and are happy to set the record straight.”
Ms Michelle Carlile complained that an article which reported her experience of living in the Greenwich Millennium Village was misleading. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following correction:
“In a recent report on the Greenwich Millennium Village we reported that resident, Ms Michelle Carlile, was dissatisfied with the development. We would like to point out that this is not the case. Ms Carlile is very happy living in the Greenwich Millennium Village but is unhappy with the delays she has experienced with the development’s management company in dealing with complaints. We regret any confusion our report may have inadvertently created.”