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Complainant Name:
Richard Biddlecombe

Clauses Noted: 1, 12

Publication: Daily Express


Richard Biddlecombe, Media Consultant to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article about the Unification Church had made a number of inaccurate claims about the organisation. In particular, he pointed out that a government investigation had concluded that allegations of brainwashing were unfounded, that Reverend Moon had not been banned from the UK for 27 years, and that none of the couples in any of the mass weddings conducted had met for the first time at the ceremony itself. He was also concerned that the article's use of the term "moonie" had represented a derogatory and discriminatory reference to unificationists.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC helped to negotiate publication of the following clarification:

In our article on 15 October 2009 about a mass wedding conducted by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, we incorrectly said that many of the couples had met for the first time at the ceremony itself. In the same article we also stated that Reverend Moon had been banned from the UK for 27 years whereas that is not the case. We are happy to clarify these points and apologise for any confusion caused.

In addition, the newspaper agreed to amend its records to reflect the points raised by the complainant, and also noted his request of meeting with one of its representatives.

Date Published: 26/03/2010

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