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Complainant Name:
Mr Matt Johnston

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Daily Mail


Mr Matt Johnston complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published an article - reporting on a drowning incident - that had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

The complainant felt the article to have suggested that fire service officials had refused to rescue a drowning man; however, he noted that it was the position of the fire service that the man in question was deceased when they had arrived at the scene.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the amendment of the headline to the online article, and the publication of the following clarification, both in print and online:

In common with other newspapers, the headline of a recent article suggested that a fire officer had refused to save a man ‘drowning' in a Hampshire lake because the water was too deep. While the Coroner did rule that the man may have still been alive when the emergency services arrived, we are happy to clarify that, as we reported, the inquest heard that the fireman's actions were based on his assessment that the man was not ‘drowning' but already dead.

Date Published: 31/07/2012

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