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Complainant Name:
Mrs Margo Fraser

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Edinburgh Evening News


Mrs Margo Fraser, General Secretary/Administrator for the Scottish Amateur Dancesport Association, complained on behalf of Mr Darren Robertson that an article in the Edinburgh Evening News on 30 April 1996 headlined "Come Dancing? They should have called it Dirty Dancing!" contained inaccuracies in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.

The article was based on an interview with Mr Robertson, a leading dancer from Edinburgh, and quoted him as saying "dirty tricks are a speciality of top level amateur dancing" and, with regard to female partners, "most of the girls you fancy are foreign because you've been round all the rest".

The complainant said the article misrepresented Mr Robertson's views and that a transcript of the taped interview, provided by the newspaper, showed that the comments had been taken out of context and that he had not been quoted in full. With regard to rival tactics, she said Mr Robertson had only wished to convey the competitiveness of the sport and his comments had related mainly to his experiences as a junior dancer. She said the full quote regarding female partners read "because you've been round all the rest that you liked". She said Mr Robertson denied he had made quotes which appeared in the reporter's contemporaneous note of a subsequent telephone conversation.

The newspaper said they believed the transcript supported the quotations in the article. They said the reporter had been aware that Mr Robertson had made several controversial comments and had telephoned him prior to publication. During this conversation he had spoken in more detail about intimidation tactics. They said that there was little doubt that Mr Robertson was inexperienced in handling a press interview.

Not Upheld


The Commission considered that, on balance, the piece was supported by the transcript of the interview and the contemporaneous note of the telephone conversation. It did not find that the complainant had presented any evidence that it should doubt the authenticity of the latter. It noted that Mr Robertson had referred to intimidation tactics and to his involvement with female partners. The article stated that Mr Robertson was 17 and had been dancing for 12 years and the Commission considered it was clear that his comments were made in this context. It did not consider that the omission of the full context of Mr Robertson's comments distorted the thrust of the piece in such a way as to raise a breach of the Code.

The complaint was rejected.


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