A SCOTS local newspaper has had a complaint against it upheld by the Press Complaints Commission, on the grounds its reporting was deemed inaccurate.
Pages one and six of the current edition of the weekly, paid-for Alloa and Hillfoots Wee County News carries an apology, after it was found to have breached the PCC’s accuracy clause following the reporting of a local housing association.
The paper’s reading of documentation led it to reporting the housing association had perpetrated fraud. But the PCC sided with the housing association that it had actually been the victim of it.
In its adjudication, the PPC said: “The Commission found that the newspaper’s coverage was in ‘clear breach’ of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code. It noted that the internal documents provided by the newspaper to corroborate its story did not confirm that either the complainant or the housing association was a suspect, and in fact ‘strongly indicated to the contrary’. It ruled that the newspaper had not taken appropriate care over the accuracy of the story and that its late offer to apologise was not sufficient to remedy the breach. It upheld the complaint.”
Charlotte Dewar, head of complaints and pre-publication services at the PCC is quoted, as saying: “The allegations contained in the story were of an extremely serious nature and the newspaper was slow to recognise that clarification of the Association’s position was needed. This ruling serves as a reminder that taking care over the accuracy of the story is particularly important where the story has the potential to damage the reputation of an individual or an organisation.”
The paper is published by HUB Publishing. allmediascotland.com has contacted it for a response.