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Cameron election rival has complaint against weeklies dismissed

Colin BexA parliamentary candidate who stood against David Cameron earlier this year has had his complaint over two weeklies’ coverage of the election dismissed.

Colin Bex, pictured left, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that both the Oxford Times and Witney Gazette breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in stories published prior to May’s General Election.

The article featured short biographies and pictures of the candidates standing in the Prime Minister’s Witney constituency, where Mr Bex was running for the Wessex Regionalist Party.

The party aims to achievea level of self-government for Wessex within the United Kingdom.

No biography or photograph of Mr Bex had been published, but a footnote which said “other candidates did not provide biographies” was printed.

Mr Bex said that he had provided a biography and photograph to the newspapers prior to publication and the footnote was therefore inaccurate.

He was concerned that readers would have been misled into believing that he was not one of the candidates running for election.

Mr Bex also raised more general concerns about his candidacy receiving less coverage than others’, and the fact that he had provided the newspapers with press releases relating to his campaign activities, which were not then reported.

In response, both the Times and the Gazette provided email correspondence with the complainant and his party representatives, which showed that he had not provided a biography by the stated deadline.

He had also attended the newspapers’ offices for his photograph to be taken too late for inclusion in the article under complaint.

They noted that that day’s coverage had elsewhere referred to his candidacy and named the party for which he had stood, and did not believe that readers would have been misled.

Both newspapers rejected any assertion that they had suppressed coverage of some of the parties standing in Witney.

Neither complaint was upheld, and the full adjudications can be read here and here.

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