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Complainant Name:
Mr Peter Hitchens

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Huffington Post


Mr Peter Hitchens complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the Huffington Post had published comments attributed to him in quotation marks - denoting them as direct quotes - without any contemporaneous notes to support the quotes. The conversation reported had taken place three years ago. While the complainant did not deny or dispute the quotes, as he did not have contemporaneous notes of the exchange either, he questioned the journalist's ability to recall verbatim the conversation. The complainant considered that the publication had, therefore, breached the terms of Clause 1 (i) of the Editors' Code of Practice: "The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information".


The complaint was resolved when the Huffington Post removed the quotation marks from around the comments and published the following statement as a footnote to the article:

We have been asked to make clear that Peter Hitchens doubts Mehdi Hasan's ability to recall verbatim their conversation of three years ago. Neither party to the conversation possess contemporaneous notes. We have therefore removed the quotation marks from around the comments.

Date Published: 23/11/2012

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