The Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint against the Scottish Daily Mail under clause 4 (Harassment) of the Editor’s Code of Practice. The newspaper persisted in ‘approaching a man who had repeatedly made clear to the newspaper that he did not wish to comment on a story about his son’:
The complainant’s son was a Scottish university student who had attended the demonstrations about tuition fees in London. The newspaper published two articles about his son’s involvement in the protests, including a photograph of him allegedly attempting to take a police officer’s hat. Reporters and photographers representing the newspaper had attended the family home in Scotland four times within 24 hours seeking a comment. On each occasion, the family made clear they did not wish to speak to journalists, and asked them to leave the property. There was one additional approach to the complainant near his home, which led to him contacting the police.
The newspaper’s sole punishment was having to publish the adjudication on page 6 of the Scottish Daily Mail, but:
Following the complaint, the newspaper was willing to write a private letter of regret to the complainant and circulated an internal note making clear that the family would have no comment on future stories.
A complaint was ‘resolved’ by the Scottish Sun:
Councillor Paul Rooney complained to the Press Complaints Commission through Glasgow City Council that an article was misleading when it implied that he was responsible for a Christmas tree being put up by the Council near his home.
The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following clarification:
In an article, dated November 26, we reported that Glasgow City Council had erected a Christmas tree near the home of Councillor Paul Rooney. Although we reported at the time that Cllr Rooney had no involvement, it was not stated by us that the decision to plant the tree there pre-dated his election to the council in May 2007 and that he had explicitly asked for it to be moved away from his home. We are happy to make this clear.
So, the resolution is an appalling piece of journalism is corrected four months after the original article was published, by which point none of the original readers would probably care about the correction. Isn’t the PCC fantastic?
Another councillor (Peter Langdon) complained about the Daily Telegraph which had reported that:
Gosport Borough Council sent ninety-three delegates to Madrid on a waste collection contract visit at a cost of £17,350. In fact, four people went on the visit, which cost £988. The newspaper had subsequently published an inaccurate correction to the article.
The Daily Telegraph published the following correction:
Our reports (25 Jan and 4 Feb) gave the wrong details of Gosport Council’s trips to research future waste management services. In fact, the total cost of 23 visits across the UK and in Spain was £7,350. This included £988 for sending four people to Madrid.
Quite a substantial difference from the original claims.
The Scotsman reported that someone’s partner was a sex offender – they weren’t – and had to issue the following clarification:
This article was amended on February 11. Our original report stated the partner of Child D’s mother was a convicted sex offender. This is not the case and his conviction was for common assault only. The Scotsman apologises for the error.