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Sister dailies say sorry to ex-First Minister over court story

JAck McConnellTwo sister dailies have apologised to the former First Minister of Scotland after failing to seek comment from him about a story in which he was named.

Jack McConnell, Lord McConnell of Glenscorroddale, complained when Glasgow based dailies The Herald and the Evening Times did not contact him for a comment after identifying him in relation to ongoing court proceedings, to which he was not a party.

Lord McConnell, pictured above left, who served as First Minister between 2001 and 2007, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the issue.

As well as investigating the Newsquest sister dailies, IPSO also launched investigations into the Daily Star of Scotland and Scottish Daily Express over similar complaints made by the Labour life peer.

The Herald and the Evening Times told the press watchdog they had taken the view that it was legitimate to identify the complainant in they court report, given the evidence that had been heard there.

When they had been contacted by the complainant directly they had removed the complainant’s name from the headline of the online version of the article.

They had also offered to publish a correction if the story was inaccurate, but Lord McConnell declined this offer as he did not wish for anything further to be published.

The newspapers wrote to Lord McConnell accepting they should have approached him for comment prior to publication, and apologised for not having done so.

They added staff had been reminded of their responsibilities always to seek a response from individuals prior to the publication of stories of this nature.

Lord McConnell said the apology and reassurances had resolved the matter to his satisfaction, and IPSO did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

Similar resolutions were reached between the complainant and the national newspapers.

The resolution statements can be read here.

3 comments

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  • May 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm
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    I can see why the papers were lazy enough to think the court report gave them protection but if he was not a party in the case then you HAVE to go to him for a response.

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  • May 3, 2016 at 11:34 pm
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    This is what happens when you get rid of experienced reporters and put the remaining staff under intolerable pressure.

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  • May 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm
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    I accept that he should have been phoned but this isn’t entirely clear cut surely?
    Could have been a case that you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.
    It’s pointless to say that he had nothing to do with this story
    Yet is there not a case to say that he might have claimed that he was being pestered? What would IPSO said about that?
    In fairness I think there are two sides to this and we all know how easy it is to be wise after the event.

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