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Complainant Name:
Mr Ian Smith

Clauses Noted: 1, 3, 4

Publication: Birmingham Mail

Complaint:

Mr Ian Smith of Harborne complained that a series of newspaper articles which reported on his earnings as an employee of Birmingham City Council while on sick leave contained inaccuracies. In addition, the complainant was concerned that the newspaper had published information which intruded into his family’s privacy – including his house number, car registration plates and a photograph of his wife – and that his wife had been harassed by a reporter and photographer.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper – which strenuously rejected the allegation of harassment – published the following correction and apology, in addition to agreeing not to use the photograph of the complainant’s wife in future:

“In October and November 2006, the Birmingham Mail reported on the controversial earnings of Ian Smith, an employee of Birmingham City Council, while he was off sick. In early editions of November 2 2006, we inadvertently included images of Mr Smith's house number and car registration plates, something for which we are happy to apologise because this breached our usual policy on privacy. On the same day, we published claims that Mr Smith owned a villa in the Algarve, and at the time carried no response because Mr Smith had declined to speak to us. We have since been made aware that Mr Smith has completely denied this claim, and we fully accept this. We regret any distress this may have caused Mr Smith and his family”.

Report: 75



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