The press watchdog has revealed the most complained about regional newspapers last year – although only one of the complaints resulted in further action against the titles.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation has said in its annual report that it received 140 complaints about the Glasgow-based Daily Record, 37 against the Bristol Post, and 34 apiece against Hull Daily Mail and Manchester Evening News.
However not a single complaint against the three English titles was upheld – with only five of the 105 complaints in total even meriting further investigation by the watchdog.
Of the complaints against the Record, one was upheld, four were not upheld following further investigation, while six were resolved throught mediation.
One complaint against the Post in 2017 required IPSO to rule that the paper had not breached the Editors’ Code of Practice, while two others were resolved through mediation.
Two no-breach rulings were made in cases involving the MEN, while none of the complaints against the Mail were investigated further.
IPSO received more than 20,000 complaints in total last year, up from nearly 15,000 in 2016.
The vast majority were against national newspapers and websites, with 4,847 complaints against The Sun, 4,176 against the Daily Mail, and 3,535 against Mail Online.
In terms of the major publishing groups, there were 90 complaints investigated against Trinity Mirror – now Reach plc – of which 15 were upheld, 47 not upheld and 28 resolved through mediation.
Of the eight complaints investigated against Johnston Press titles, four were not upheld and four were resolved through mediation.
The figures for both JP, which owns the i, and Reach, publisher of the Mirror, include national as well as regional titles.
Newsquest Media Group, which is purely made up of regional titles, was the subject of 22 complaints which merited further investigation, of which nine were not upheld, nine resolved through mediation, and four upheld.
The annual report also highlighted some case studies of complaints involving regional newspapers which raised press ethics issues.
One example was a complaint against the Newcastle Chronicle by a former police officer who had been dismissed from the Northumbria force who claimed the paper had tricked her into answering the door before “snatching” a photograph of her.
However the committee decided that as the complainant had been convicted of an abuse of her public position, the “limited level of intrusion” by the paper was proportionate to the public interest.
In another case study highlighted in the report, complaints against the Daily Record, Paisley Daily Express and Glasgow Evening Times were upheld over a series of articles which IPSO ruled constituted “jigsaw identification” of a sex abuse victim.
Sir Alan Moses, chairman of IPSO, wrote in the report: “Some of our decisions are unwelcome, not just to complainants but to editors as well. But they are our decisions; they are not the decision of politicians, nor of those we regulate, nor of anyone else.
“They are reached conscientiously and independently. We have a high proportion of complainants who say they are pleased with our help and support.
“As for editors, they have no choice but to obey our rulings.”