Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Corrections round-up

Three errors of varying seriousness exposed today. Firstly, the Mail on Sunday has agreed to pay undisclosed but substantial damages, plus legal costs, to Madonna for publishing pictures of her wedding to Guy Ritchie. MediaGuardian explains:
Associated Newspapers admitted liability for breaching Madonna's privacy and copyright infringement.

It had destroyed all copies of the infringing photographs in its possession and agreed to pay the singer damages and her legal costs.

Over at the Daily Star, the following correction appeared:

On October 1 we stated in an article headed “Hammer horror” that soldiers from 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards are having to resort to building their own furniture after being taught how to make chairs and tables at Mons Barracks in Aldershot, Hants, because of limited provisions in Afghanistan.

We now accept that the story was incorrect and that the training was worthwhile to prepare them for coping with conditions on the ground in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the PCC have given the Telegraph a slap on the wrist for what appears to be a slightly strange reason. During one of their many expenses stories, Brian Binley MP was referred to as a 'millionaire' with a 'multi-million pound fortune'. Binley denied he was, or had, any such thing. The Telegraph was reluctant to publish an apology and clarification.

It is very welcome that the PCC will adjudicate against newspapers for factual errors, and for dragging their feet, but it does seem a bizarrely inconsequential case. Take the recent ruling against Ken Livingstone when the Mail published two very misleading stories about him and the PCC ruled that they would not 'have altered the general understanding of the situation' despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.

Given that the slap on the wrist makes very little difference, it seems fairly unimportant either way. But it surely needs to be consistent.

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