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Complainant Name:
Mr Edward Fowler-Wright

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Hereford Times

Complaint:

Mr Edward Fowler-Wright complained that the newspaper had edited a letter he had submitted for publication in such a way as to render it misleading. His letter had contained the following paragraph: "Your campaign is worth doing but its benefit may be limited to an extent because many of the people driving in the relevant area are passing through so road improvement, and enforcement, measures may help them but not the safe driving etc. PR".

This was edited to read the following: "Your campaign is worth doing but its benefit may be limited because many driving in the area are passing through so road improvement and enforcement measures may help them but not the safe driving." The complainant had been seeking to make the point that those passing through the area would not benefit from the PR campaign; the amendment meant that he was appearing to argue that they would not benefit from safer driving itself. The problem was compounded by the fact that the newspaper then published a letter from another correspondent who criticised the complainant for making this “staggeringly bizarre statement”.

Resolution:

The Commission considered the complaint on two occasions. It accepted the merit of the complainant’s concerns that the newspaper had published a letter critical of the complainant based on a misrepresentation of what he actually said, without giving the complainant the opportunity to respond further. The matter could have been resolved by the further publication of a corrective statement (which would have been a better solution), but the complainant considered the Commission’s acknowledgement of the merits of his case was sufficient to enable the complaint to be resolved.

Report: 78



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