Sunday, 7 February 2010

Payouts for man wrongly named in child porn case

In December, the Press Association wrongly identified a man convicted of child porn offences.

While the guilty Martyn Smith had worked at the BBC, he is not the same Martyn Smith as the producer of Dragon's Den - but it was this Smith that the PA named as the one involved.

The PA's error was compounded when one media outlet after another mindlessly repeated the mistake - a clear example of churnalism.

Last Thursday, it was announced that Smith had received £50,000 in damages from PA, £10,000 from the Mirror and £5,000 each from the Telegraph and Times.

Although others - such as the Daily Mail website, Brighton Argus, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, The Scotsman and Belfast Telegraph - repeated the same error, they haven't yet paid anything to Mr Smith.

It's not quite clear why that should be - given the seriousness of the crime, every newspaper who wrongly identified him should be putting their hands in their pocket to pay him the damages he deserves.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure about this one. If the other papers just republished the PA story then the blame really lies with the PA (hence the large damages for them).

    I assume that the Mirror, Telegraph and Times expanded on the story a bit more and did a hatchet job which is why they paid specific damages.


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