Monday, 6 July 2009

PCC: Express humiliated the survivors of Dunblane

The Scottish Sunday Express "designed to humiliate" the surviving victims of the Dunblane Massacre the Press Complaints Commission ruled yesterday.

Here's a summary of the original story:

"The article reported that the survivors of the Dunblane shooting in 1996 – who were now turning 18 – had ‘shamed’ the memory of the deceased with ‘foul-mouthed boasts about sex, brawls and drink-fuelled antics’ posted on their social networking sites.

"The complainants said that the coverage had seriously affected their sons by criticising them and unnecessarily drawing attention to them as Dunblane survivors – including by publishing photographs of them – when they had previously been shielded from public view. They were just ordinary teenagers, and the article constituted a serious intrusion into their private lives."

Despite eventually offering an apology (of sorts) to their victims, the paper still insisted on defending it's actions to the PCC.

According to the ruling, the Express argued that all the details they published:

"had been publicly accessible on social networking sites" anyway.

However, in a landmark case, the PCC ruled that the paper had made a "serious error of judgement":

"In this case, while the boys’ identities appeared to have been made public in 1996, it was also the case – as the article itself had recognised – that they had since been brought up away from the media spotlight. The article conceded that ‘no photographs of any of the children have been seen in more than a decade’. They were not public figures in any meaningful sense, and the newsworthy event that they had been involved in as young children had happened 13 years previously."

"Since then they had done nothing to warrant media scrutiny, and the images appeared to have been taken out of context and presented in a way that was designed to humiliate or embarrass them. Even if the images were available freely online, the way they were used – when there was no particular reason for the boys to be in the news – represented a fundamental failure to respect their private lives. Publication represented a serious error of judgement on the part of the newspaper.

"Although the editor had taken steps to resolve the complaint, and rightly published an apology, the breach of the Code was so serious that no apology could remedy it."

I'm still not convinced, the Express is clear who the real victims of this story are though.


Anonymous said...

The Journalist and the editor of this filthy rag are still in their jobs today. In any other line of work they would have been out on their arse the moment this happened.

ian said...

And the punishment for the Express is....? A slap on the wrists? What is the point?

AdamB said...

You're not the first to ask that Ian

And I doubt you'll be the last. It's a real scandal, that they're allowed to 'regulate' themselves like this.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

A small victory but a good one none the less.

Their wimpering that is their justification paints them in a good light.

Tim said...

It's a victory when the consequences are real, not just spoken of. Lambie should be sacked.

The PCC rules that an apology wouldn't be enough, and Lambie avoided even that. He even dished out empty legal threats to people who dared question his conduct and that of this staff.