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Complainant Name:
Messrs Harbottle & Lewis on behalf of Robbie Williams

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: OK! Magazine


Messrs Harbottle & Lewis, solicitors of London, complained on behalf of their client Robbie Williams that an article published in OK Magazine on 30 October 1998 was misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.

The complaint was not upheld.

The article, about a well known pop star, was said to consist of "exclusive words and pictures".

The complainant did not object to the statement with reference to the pictures which had been licensed to the magazine for a first UK publication. However, the complainant said that he had never co-operated with the magazine and had never given an interview to the author. He contended that the use of the words "exclusive words" when used to describe an interview could not mean anything other than an exclusive interview had taken place.

The magazine replied that many of the quotes in the feature had previously been published and were extracted from a range of newspaper and press releases. The author of the piece had spent a considerable amount of time on research beforehand. Taken as a whole the published work was original and exclusive.

Not Upheld


The Commission accepts that the word "exclusive" can have different meanings in different contexts. In this case the Commission took the view that readers would not have been expecting an exclusive "interview" with Mr Williams - because an interview would clearly have been described as such. The arrangement of quotes from Mr Williams meant that there were indeed "exclusive words" - even though he had not co-operated with the magazine.

The Commission noted that the complainant accepted that the pictures had been licensed to the magazine for a first UK publication.


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