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Report reveals most complained about regional titles in 2021

Lord FaulksThe five most complained about regional news titles in 2021 were all cleared of any wrongdoing after having to deal with almost 200 complaints between them, a report has revealed.

Five Reach plc titles – Wales Online, Stoke-on-Trent daily The Sentinel, the Manchester Evening News, Huddersfield Daily Examiner and Hull Daily Mail – received 197 complaints between them to the press watchdog during last year.

However, just six of the complaints resulted in the Independent Press Standards Organisation issuing rulings and none of them were upheld, either partially or fully.

The figures have been revealed in IPSO’s annual report, which was published yesterday, and shows the five sister titles occupying places 14 to 18 in the top 20 most complained about publications.

A total of 47 complaints were made about Wales Online during 2021, 36 of which were found to be within the remit of IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice.

Of these, 23 were rejected by IPSO and 11 were not pursued by the complainant, while resulted in investigations that ended with complaints not being upheld.

At The Sentinel, 23 out of 44 complaints were found to be within IPSO’s remit, of which 10 were rejected and nine were not pursued.

One complaint was resolved directly with The Sentinel and another via mediation with the watchdog, while two were not upheld following investigations.

The MEN received 40 complaints, with 23 of those being in IPSO’s remit, while at the Examiner the numbers were 33 and 25 respectively.

At both the MEN and the Examiner, nine complaints each were rejected and 13 were not pursued, while one was resolved directly. Two further complaints against the Examiner were not upheld by IPSO.

And in Hull, 25 out of 33 complaints against the Mail were found to be within the remit of the Editors’ Code.

Of these, 13 were rejected and eight were not taken further, while one complaint was resolved directly.

IPSO dealt with 14,355 complaints in total during 2021, of which 13,712 were found not to be in the watchdog’s remit.

Of the 461 that required further investigation, 88 were upheld. In 182 cases, other action was taken including the offer of advice and the issuing of desist notices.

IPSO chairman Lord Edward Faulks, pictured, said: “The annual report covers the latter stages of the Covid-19 pandemic as it continued to affect the general population well into 2021 and early 2022.

“We continued to focus on increasing IPSO training and engagement with regulated publishers, promoting media literacy among members of the public, and a greater focus on what IPSO does and is doing to support and protect members of the public when dealing with the press.”