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Complainant Name:
ME Association

Clauses Noted: 1, 12

Publication: The Sun

Complaint:

The Press Complaints Commission received 164 complaints from individuals who were concerned that the newspaper had published a comment piece that made a number of inaccurate assertions about medical conditions such as ME and fibromyalgia in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code. The alleged errors related to the history of the conditions and the severity of symptoms. The ME Association and UK Fibromyalgia were selected as lead complainants and additional concerns were raised that the column was prejudicial and pejorative in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination).

Resolution:

The newspaper argued that under the terms of the Code, its columnist was permitted to express his personal opinion about the nature of the medical conditions in question. However, the newspaper accepted that contrasting views on the matter existed and should be aired. While the complainants considered that the columnist should have offered an apology, the complaint was resolved following the publication of a number of critical letters from readers (including the ME Association) and a follow-up feature on ME and fibromyalgia which provided factual information about the conditions and highlighted appropriate case studies.

Date Published: 02/05/2012



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