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Complainant Name:
Donald A MacLeod

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Daily Record

Complaint:

Donald A. MacLeod of Argyll & Bute – a member and office bearer of the Free Church of Scotland – complained about an article which reported on a member of the Vatten and Glendale Free Church who had pleaded guilty to child abuse charges. He raised concerns that the article did not make the distinction between his Church – the Free Church of Scotland – and the Free Presbyterian Church where this incident took place.

The complainant also pointed out that the distinction between the two denominations was further confused when the article described a second incident which had occurred at the “same church”. In fact, the complainant said this incident had happened in a Free Church rather than a Presbyterian Church.

Finally, the complainant raised concerns about the use of terms such as “wee frees” and “bible bashers” in the article which he considered to be extremely offensive.

Resolution:

The newspaper made the point that the article had included the specific name of the Church in which the first incident had taken place. However, the managing editor accepted that the article had incorrectly linked the second incident to that same Church. The managing editor therefore ensured that the newspaper’s electronic library had been corrected to reflect the distinction and circulated a memo to all editorial staff to make them aware of the need for accuracy in any article concerning the Free Church of Scotland.

The complainant stood by the substance of his complaint but decided that he had taken the matter as far as was reasonable. He asked that a summary of his complaint be published on the PCC website and the complaint was resolved on this basis.

Report: 76



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