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PCC: ‘No ruling needed on Daily Mail complaints’

Ignored by the PCC: My 13 reasons 

Tonight the Press Complaints Commission ruled that one complaint it received about the Daily Mail was now ‘resolved’ and so a ruling would not be necessary on the other 82 complaints. 

The PCC received at least 83 complaints about the Daily Mail story which falsely claimed  buses and planes from Bulgaria and Romania to the UK were ‘full-up and sold-out’.   I submitted a  substantial complaint listing 13 reasons why the Daily Mail story was inaccurate.  My complaint and 81 others were discarded by the PCC and not investigated.  This apparently is normal practice.  Instead, the PCC ‘chose’ one ‘lead complaint’ to consider on its own.  The 13 serious reasons included in my complaint were never looked into.

‘Sold out!’ asserted the Daily Mail headline. Has the PCC now also ‘sold out’ on its ‘duty’ to investigate press inaccuracies?

The ‘lead complaint’ chosen by the PCC to ‘investigate’  was apparently submitted by a Mr William Galloway.  The PCC explained this evening:

“Mr William Galloway complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate information in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant said that the newspaper had incorrectly claimed that flights from Romania to London were full, and that seats were selling for up to £3000. The complainant had been able to find available spaces on these flights at reasonable prices. While some flights did cost up to £3000, these were indirect flights which went via countries outside Europe.”

The PCC added, however, that the complainant agreed that his complaint was resolved when the Daily Mail published the following ‘correction’:

The following update was also added to the online article:

Added PCC Complaints Co-ordinator, Mr Simon Yip, in his email to me this evening:

“I should make clear that the above outcome reflects a resolution that the complainant considered to be a satisfactory response to his complaint; it is not a PCC ruling. In instances where a complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, the Commission does not generally rule on the matter.  

“If you do not feel that the actions taken by the newspaper are sufficient to address the concerns you raised in your complaint, I would be grateful if you could inform us in the next seven days. It would be helpful if you could explain why you consider the actions to be insufficient.”

I have immediately replied to Mr Yip as follows:

“Thank you for your email.  Your Information and Events Manager, Tonia Milton, has already advised me that I am entitled to request a ruling by the PCC on my specific complaint.  This I have requested. 

“The reason I am requesting that the PCC specifically rule on my complaint is that your investigation into the ‘lead complaint’ by Mr William Galloway did not address my 13 serious complaints regarding inaccuracy in the Daily Mail’s story.  These 13 complaints are summarised in my online article at ’13 reasons why I am taking the Daily Mail to the Press Complaints Commission.’ 

“The ‘correction’ published by the Daily Mail is totally inadequate and did not resolve my complaints about their story. 

“It is disappointing that my complaint wasn’t investigated in January when I first submitted it.  I cannot understand why 81 complaints about the Daily Mail story sent to the PCC during January 2014 – including mine – were discarded by the PCC and apparently rejected.  I have written separately to Tonia Milton about that and am awaiting her reply, which will be published on my blog.

“I look forward to hearing back from you.”

I will be discussing this case tomorrow (Saturday 15 March 2014) from 3pm at a conference against xenophobia.  Some tickets are still available.   (No need to book online, there will be tickets on the door).

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