The Press Complaints Commission changed its rules on publishing corrections from January 1, 2011.
In future, the prominence of corrections and apologies on complaints involving the PCC must be agreed with them BEFORE PUBLICATION.
The change has been made to the Code’s clause 1, which now includes this sentence: “In cases involving the commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.”
It is not yet clear what would happen if an editor could not agree the prominence with the commission.
Reporting under 18′s
An intervention by the PCC indicates that editors need to take even GREATER care reporting court cases involving under-18s.
The Sutton Guardian reported a murder trial in which a boy, 14, gave evidence as a witness.
The court did NOT pass a s39 order on him, so the paper published his name.
But his mother complained to the PCC that his name and evidence breached clauses 6 and 9 of the code.
The mother claimed clause 6 was breached because the report interfered with her son’s education.
And she said clause 9 was compromised because the paper did not show … Particular regard .. to the potentially vulnerable position of children who witness, or are victims of, crime.
The PCC intervened and the paper REMOVED the entire court case from its website; and dropped his name and much of his evidence in the printed edition.
This was despite the fact that clause 9 also says: ‘This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.’
This is another example where the media’s legal right and duty to report a court case in full has been curtailed by the PCC. The same has happened regarding media coverage of inquests.
Continue to name under-18s in court cases WHEN YOU ARE LEGALLY ALLOWED TO DO SO - ie, when no s39 order has been passed; or youth court reporting restrictions have been lifted.
BUT: be aware you CAN compromise the PCC Code in doing so. It is clear that in some circumstances, the Code CAN outrank the normal legal right to report names AND evidence.
Editors MAY wish to carefully examine court cases in which u-18s are named in the light of the PCC Code in future – clauses 6 and 9 especially, and other clauses, too.
You can read the full story here:
The PCC has ruled that the Daily Mirror invaded Danni Minogue’s privacy by reporting she was pregnant.
The code says that a pregnancy should not be revealed without consent before the 12 week scan.
PCC Director Stephen Abell said: “This case is an important reminder to editors of the high standards required by Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Code around health matters.
“The commission’s case law in this area makes absolutely clear the care the PCC expects newspapers to take when considering stories about pregnancy.”
PCC and social networking
The PCC has clarified its guidance about using material from social networking sites like Facebook.
Journalists can use photos from social networking sites to report deaths, but they should consider:
1. Are the available to the public? – I.e. what privacy settings were used?
2. How personal are they – what do they show?
3. What context were the originals – and how much could impact could they have on grieving families if re-used to report a death?
4. Who uploaded them?
5. What’s the public interest?
Photos that are publicly available are usually safe, and can be used without consent – but the impact on grieving families must be considered.
If it is likely to be significant, then consent should be obtained – unless there is a public interest issue according to the PCC code.
The PCC also says: “Newspapers still remained entitled, when reporting the death of an individual, to make use of publicly available material obtained from social networking sites. However, editors should always consider the impact on grieving families when taking such information (which may have been posted in a jocular or carefree fashion) from its original context and using it within a tragic story about that person’s death”. (Rundle v Sunday Times)
A spokesman said: “The PCC will shortly establish an internal working group to consider these issues further. It remains committed to taking a lead role in setting the boundaries between what is private and what is the in public interest.”