I have had a response from the Press Complaints Commission regarding the complaint I filed over The Daily Mail’s story linking the death of Sophie Howard to the teachers’ one-day action last month. As expected it’s vacuous.
My story, “Grief Intrusion by the Daily Mail” questioned how TDM could make the link.
Here is the response from Simon Yip at the PCC. I’m making limited comment on it for now until I’ve thought some more. One thing stands out, however, is this:
“As such, we contacted Cambridgeshire Police, and the college she attended, immediately after the story broke to offer our support, and make clear how we can assist in all press-related issues.”
Why? Surely it is not for the PCC to ‘offer to assist on all press-related issues or offer support to the Police or the College?’ Surely this is a waste of the PCC’s time?
“Thank you for making a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about coverage of the tragic death of Sophie Howard.
We have received numerous complaints about the article in the Daily Mail, most of which relate to the headline of the article as it originally appeared online. The complaints have been lodged primarily under Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code.
As you would expect, we will, in the first instance, have to consider the wishes of the family of Miss Howard before we take forward any complaint relating to her death, with particular regard to intrusion. As such, we contacted Cambridgeshire Police, and the college she attended, immediately after the story broke to offer our support, and make clear how we can assist in all press-related issues.
In addition, the PCC contacted the Daily Mail in regard to the online headline, and it responded on Friday afternoon to make clear that – even before we had made contact – the headline to the online article had been amended in view of direct concerns raised. The article in the newspaper, which appeared on 2 July, did not have the same headline.
In the circumstances, we will determine whether the Howard family wishes to complain about the article, and revert to you shortly once the position has become clear.
A copy of the Code of Practice can be accessed using this web link: http://www.pcc.org.uk/cop/practice.html .
Further information about the PCC can be found on our website www.pcc.org.uk .
Press Complaints Commission
London EC1N 2JD
Tel: 020 7831 0022