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Complainant Name:
Sharon Dolan-Powers

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Observer


Sharon Dolan-Powers was one of nine individuals who contacted the Press Complaints Commission to complain that the newspaper had published an article which misleadingly referred to a historical event as current in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy). The complainant considered that such an error showed a failure of editorial procedure.


The newspaper had received a number of direct complaints about the article, before receiving details of those submitted to the PCC. It acknowledged that the article was inaccurate and recognised the need for prompt correction. The complaint was resolved following amendments made to the online article, the publication of a corrective footnote and the following wording in print:

“EU chief tells Scotland to drop separatist agenda" (News last week, page 1, Scotland, later editions, page 4 and page 10) described a video made by EU president Herman Van Rompuy on the Scottish independence debate. During editing, it was described as "recent" but it was in fact made in June 2011 – hardly the "dramatic intervention" which we described. Apologies. Additionally, we failed to include First Minister Alex Salmond's denial of accusations that he made misleading remarks concerning legal advice on Scotland's EU membership. He has asked an independent inquiry to investigate whether he misled Holyrood and so breached the ministerial code.”

Date Published: 14/12/2012

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