Monday, 2 July 2012

Mail and Sun remove articles about 'riot' by football fans

Stephen Wren posted the following on FansOnline about articles that appeared in the Sun and Mail in February claiming there had been a riot after an abandoned football match:

After the Ipswich match was abandonded a couple of stories appeared in the press stating that Boro fans had 'gone on the riot' or 'rampage'. It said police were inspecting CCTV tapes in order to track down people involved.

I happened to be in the very close vicinity to the incident and recognised that the stories bore little resemblance to fact (indeed about the only fact that was correct was that the game was abandoned and the teams were Boro and Ipswich!).

I contacted Suffolk Police; Ipswich Town and the Boro offering my services as a witness to the event (and stating the actual facts). Ipswich and Suffolk police got back to me very quickly saying the story was basically a work of fiction.

I contacted the papers stating that their story was wrong in almost every element; giving the factual version of events and backing it up with the comments of Ipswich Town and the Police. They didn't reply.

I wrote again stating that they were in brech of the Press Complaints Commission Editors Code of Conduct (both in their article and in not correcting information that had been shown to be seriously inaccurate) and that I would make a formal complaint unless the stories were corrected.

Still no reply so I formally complained to the PCC who, initially, tried to suggest I couldn't complain as I was not the person 'wronged' and that any complaint must come from the club (who they advised had not complained about the articles).

I stated that, as a fan of MFC who was present at the game , I was being tarnished by the false story and therefore I was an injured party in the case. The PCC relented and agreed to take the complaint forward.

After some back and forth communication between myself, the papers and the PCC it was agreed that the stories were not accurate and both papers removed the stories from their websites and databases.

Additionally I recieved a personal apology from each paper.

The PCC confirms (Mail/Sun):

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the online article and a private letter of apology from the newspaper explaining the reasons for its failure to make direct contact with the complainant.

This suggests there will be no printed correction.

(Hat-tip to @quizeye)

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