Whispered apologies

January 12th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

How fucking hard is it to find a snap shot of a newspaper frontpage, eh?


Peaches Geldof has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages at London’s High Court over a claim that she was a prostitute who charged £5,000 a night for sexual services.

The 20-year-old TV presenter and model had brought proceedings over a September 2008 front page story in The Daily Star.

That is quite insulting, isn’t it? It could ruin a career, an accusation like that, and once mud has been thrown it can be bloody hard to get off.

Peaches initially went to the Press Complaints Commission, which according to the PCC is the right thing to do, and the complaint was upheld and the Daily Star published an apology and retraction. So if Peaches got an apology, why sue?…

“The defendant refused to publish a retraction and apology on its front page but instead published it on page two.

“As the publication was substantially smaller, the claimant considered this to be unacceptable as it was not, in her view, adequately prominent.”

The PCC felt that an apology on the inside of the paper, even though the offending headline was on the front page, was fine. As far as the PCC was concerned it was job done. Next, please.

But it isn’t fine, is it? What the Star did was the equivilent to standing in the street shouting about how Peaches Geldof is a whore to all and sundry that passed by. What the PCC let them do is tell only the people that stop by their office that, actually, Peaches isn’t a whore.

The headlines on the front page scream to the world whether the paper is bought or not. When you buy a paper people notice the other papers, just because they have to find it on the shelf. Many more people would’ve seen that headline, and changed their opinion for the worse, than would’ve seen the retraction and apology.

What, though, would the PCC have done if it had deemed an apology on the second page not good enough and the Daily Star still refused to put it on the front page? Would it have fined the Star? Would it have helped Peaches take the Star to court? Of course not. It would’ve done nothing, because it can do nothing more.

The question is purely academic, anyway. The PCC may have ruled that the complaint was valid, but the ‘punishment’ (yeah, yeah. stop laughing) would’ve been negotiated. The Star, along with many other papers, would never put an apology on the front page, it would’ve told the PCC to fuck right off, so as a compromise, the second page it was.

Quite rightly, the second page was found not to be good enough.

Fortunately, Peaches has the money to take the matter further, not everyone does. The next time it could be you, unable to make a paper stand in the street and tell everyone it was wrong about you.

via Scaryduck

Ken vs The Mail

July 21st, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Apparently in March it was reported in the Mail that Ken Livingstone dodged a train fare and avoided a fine.

The PCC (via email)…

Articles published by the newspaper in March concerned an allegation that, despite not having a ticket for a train journey between London and Slough, Mr Livingstone was not asked to pay a penalty fare. This, said the newspaper, contrasted with his ‘zero tolerance’ policy when Mayor of London.

Red Ken complained to the PCC that the Mail misrepresented the situation and should’ve spoke to him to get his side of the story before going to print, as Ken may not have had a ticket for the whole of his journey, but neither did about 10 other passengers. They all paid for the unpaid part of their journey when they got off the train.

The main thrust of Kens’ complaint is that how the story appeared in the Mail was that he received preferential treatment or was a hypocrite (avoiding paying for a train journey whilst having a zero tolerance whist Mayor).

The PCC hasn’t upheld the complaint because…

…the Commission did not agree that the newspaper should have obtained Mr Livingstone’s comments because it was clear that the thrust of the story was true (and had been witnessed by the freelance reporter responsible for writing it). The Commission did not consider that the newspaper’s coverage was misleading or that the “failure to mention that ten other individuals had avoided the fine…would have altered the general understanding of the situation…in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code”.

What bollox. The thrust of the story (from what I understand) was that Ken either used his ‘fame’ to get himself let off a fare or that he is a hypocrite for avoiding fares whilst espousing zero tolerance. If he had been a lone in in what had happened, then yes that charge may have some validity, but if ten other people did the same, then it is a bit of a non-story and has detail has been omitted to blacken his name.

Nice one, PCC. Showing us some of the common sense there that makes a mockery of self-regulation.

PCC statement on phone message tapping claims

July 9th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

PCC statement on phone message tapping claims

In 2007, the PCC conducted an inquiry across the whole of the British press into the use of subterfuge by journalists. This followed the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire for offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Criminal Law Act, which the PCC considered threatened to undermine public confidence in investigative journalism. While the specific allegations of criminal behaviour were matters for the police and the courts, the PCC made clear that there were outstanding questions about the application of the Code of Practice, Clause 10 of which bans the practice of intercepting phone calls and messages unless there is a strong public interest.
As a result of its inquiry, the PCC published 6 specific recommendations to publishers to ensure that phone message tapping – where it had taken place – was eliminated, and that steps were taken to familiarise journalists with the rules on using subterfuge in the law and the press Code of Practice. It also had a number of specific questions for the News of the World.

The PCC has previously made clear that it finds the practice of phone message tapping deplorable. Any suggestion that further transgressions have occurred since its report was published in 2007 will be investigated without delay. In the meantime, the PCC is contacting the Guardian newspaper and the Information Commissioner for any further specific information in relation to the claims, published today about the older cases, which suggests the Commission has been misled at any stage of its inquiries into these matters.

Teeth needed

January 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The Guardian:

The Press Complaints Commission is investigating a front-page story in the Sun newspaper that claimed Islamic extremists were targeting The Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar.

The PCC has launched an investigation and will consider whether Abuislam is Jenvey. The regulator has contacted the Sun and is awaiting the paper’s response.

It is understood that the Sun story originated from a news agency.

The Sun declined to comment on why it had removed the story from its website.

Via Tim

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