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Weekly publishes clarification after ‘Mrs Twit’ complaint

An actress who was playing Mrs Twit in a stage production of The Twits complained to the press watchdog over a newspaper report after being accidentally hit by a kettle.

In its report of the incident, The Cornishman claimed Lizzy Dive had sustained mild concussion as a result of the mishap.

Mr Oliver Gray complained on her behalf to the Press Complaints Commission under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editor’s Code, saying she had suffered only minor bruising.

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper agreed to alter the online version of the report and publish a clarification in the newspaper.

It read:  “Following our article of June 21 which reported Lizzy Dive, an actress who was playing Mrs Twit on stage, had sustained mild concussion from being hit by a kettle, we are happy to make clear that Ms Dive did not suffer concussion, but only minor bruising.”

Other recently resolved PCC cases involving local and regional newspapers include the following:

Smith v Derry Journal

Mrs Donna Smith complained that an online article, which reported a statement from a vigilante group in which it claimed responsibility for killing her son, breached the terms of Clauses 1 (Accuracy), 2 (Opportunity to reply), 3 (Privacy), 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code. She was particularly concerned that the article did not contain the family’s rebuttal to the vigilante group’s claims regarding her son.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the online article: the newspaper also agreed to write privately to the complainant.

Murray v The Herald, Glasgow

Mr Stephen Vincent Murray complained under Clause 1 (Accuracy) over an article reporting on property deals.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following correction in the newspaper:  “Furniture Charity RECAP and JIG have reached no agreement of any kind in regard to 12-20 Tannoch Drive, Lenziemill, Cumbernauld.”

Sutherland v The Sentinel

Linda Sutherland complained under Clause 3 (Privacy) that the newspaper had named her step-mother and a number of other elderly people as victims of alleged neglect at a nursing home. She was particularly concerned as the article revealed information about the alleged victims’ medical needs, which she considered private.

The newspaper explained that its coverage was based on information given in open court.  The complaint was resolved when the newspaper removed the names of the victims from the online article and offered an assurance that it would not name the complainant’s step-mother in future coverage of the case.

Kane v Newtownards Chronicle

Mr Frank Kane complained under Clause 3 (Privacy) over an article about a burglary at his home. He was particularly concerned that the newspaper had printed his full address and that this had left him vulnerable to further crimes.

The matter was resolved when the newspaper offered to write the complainant a personal letter to apologise for any distress that the report had caused.

Murray v Daily Record

Mr Tom Murray complained under Clause 1 (Accuracy) that the newspaper had published inaccurate information regarding the ownership of his son’s company.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following apology and correction:

In our article of 2 July “Bankruptcy…What Bankruptcy” we said that Graham Gilliespie part-owns Lomond & Trossachs Fuels, which he set up with Sir David Murray’s son Andrew. This is incorrect. We are happy to make clear that the owners of Lomond & Trossachs Fuels Limited are Thomas Graham Gillespie and Andrew Graham Davidson Murray. Graham Gillespie and Sir David Murray are not connected to the company and we apologise to the owners for our error.”

4 comments

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  • September 3, 2012 at 10:01 am
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    Storm in a teacup! Put the kettle on….carefully.

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  • September 3, 2012 at 10:09 am
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    Don’t you just love that intro? Goes down like a fine wine!
    “An actress who was playing Mrs Twit in a stage production of The Twits complained to the press watchdog over a newspaper report after being accidentally hit by a kettle.”

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  • September 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm
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    The Sutherland/Sentinel case bothers me and I wonder whether we have been given the full story. Quote: “The newspaper explained that its coverage was based on information given in open court. The complaint was resolved when the newspaper removed the names of the victims from the online article and offered an assurance that it would not name the complainant’s step-mother in future coverage of the case.”
    Hmm…on the basis of the frustratingly brief PCC report (and there is no more detail on the website – http://www.pcc.org.uk/news/index.html?article=Nzk3NA== ) – the terms of the Code clause 3, Privacy, must surely be insufficient grounds for the paper to feel obliged to delete legitimately obtained details from its report? Otherwise, the implication of the explanation given in this PCC case is that any person involved in court proceedings of any sort could demand that their name be deleted from a subsequent report.
    So, it has me wondering – did the court make a Section 11 Order re: the victims, which was, for whatever reason, not acted upon by the paper?
    As it stands, the PCC case report here and on their website just doesn’t stack up and, it might be argued, the PCC is serving the industry poorly because the absence of a coherent account isn’t doing much to educate staff and help them make the right decision.
    I’m happy to be corrected of course…

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  • September 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm
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    Roald Dahl would have been pleased with the Mrs Twit item. The Cornishman must have been a bit pleased to publish this clarification.

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