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Local blogger backs weekly over PCC ruling

A local blogger has spoken out in support of a weekly newspaper after the press watchdog upheld a complaint of harassment against it.

As reported earlier this month, the Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint against the Brent and Kilburn Times under Clause Four of the Editor’s Code of Practice, which covers harassment.

The complaint was issued by local councillor Jim Moher who emailed the paper’s news editor expressing disappointment that the newspaper had not published a number of his recent letters to the editor

The news editor, who had been on bereavement leave at the time, regarded this as inappropriate and expressed her views in several posts on her Facebook page, including one that said: “I plan to make his life a misery as much as possible.”

The Commission ruled that the comments had contained abusive language, personal insults, and an implied threat of violence.

Charlotte Dewar, Director of Complaints and Pre-publication Services at the PCC, said afterwards:  “Journalists must take care when discussing their professional relationships, including on social media.”

However commenting on the issue in his blog, Martin Francis, editor of, expressed sympathy for the paper.

Martin, pictured, said: “While stressing it is important that journalists themselves do make the distinction between their personal and professional contributions on social media, it would be a great pity if the PCC and its successor, the IPSO, were to determine that all material created by journalists and published on non-commercial outlets that operate their own agreed contributors’ codes, ought to be subject to the Editor’s Code.

He added:  “Readers will inevitably make up their own minds about this.  But I do hope that the Brent and Kilburn Times maintains its strident coverage of local issues, which has sometimes inevitably made it very unpopular with local councillors.

“Local press coverage is especially important now that we have a Council with a very large majority. The Brent and Kilburn Times must continue to be ‘on the side of the people.’ A robust local press is more important than ever.”