The UK Press Complaints Commission ruled against the Halifax Courier for being insensitive in its report on a man’s “terminal” illness “malignant mesothelioma,” according to the PCC’s report on the ruling, which was sent to iMediaEthics.
The complainant, Nick Crossley, claimed that the article was inaccurate and insensitive” but the PCC dismissed the accuracy complaint.
The Courier’s story “reported that he had initiated legal proceedings seeking compensation from his former employer on the grounds that it had negligently failed to protect him from exposure to asbestos in the workplace,” according to the PCC, which noted the article was only published in print.
As the PCC explained, Crossley complained because the Courier’s March 17 article, “Crossley tycoon: I’m dying” characterized the man as “dying” when “he considers himself to be ‘living with mesothelioma,'” and suggested, while not using quotation marks, that he said “I’m dying.” The Guardian noted that Crossley “had given no comment” to the Courier.
The PCC called the complaint a “difficult and finely balanced case” but ultimately that the Courier wasn’t sensitive by “using the first person, in the headline.”
In addition to the Courier‘s apology to Crossley, the newspaper had to publish the PCC’s adjudication.
The PCC quoted its Head of Complaints and Pre-publication Services, Charlotte Dewar, as calling the complaint “a particularly hard case” because the Courier “was undoubtedly entitled to report on the legal claim” but unintentionally ended up being insensitive with its headline.
iMediaEthics has written to the Courier’s editor, John Kenealy, seeking response to the PCC’s ruling and will update with any response.
UPDATE: 10/8/2012 8:15 AM EST: Kenealy declined to comment to iMediaEthics.
UPDATE: 10/17/2012 2:18 PM EST: Added info from the Guardian.