The Press Complaints Commission ruled that the Courier & Advertiser newspaper violated the PCC’s code of practice in its story about a hearing in which a man “admitted sexual offences against two girls, both of whom were under the age of sixteen when the crimes occurred.”
The newspaper reported where the crimes happened, which the mothers of the two girls argued identified the victims because the girls live on two of the streets named. The victims’ mothers filed complaints with the PCC claiming that “there were relatively few houses on the roads in question and because the report had stated their daughters’ ages, both children had been identified to those in their local communities.”
In response, the newspaper took the crime locations out of its stories in online archives, reminded staff of PCC’s guidelines, and apologized to the two mothers. The newspaper also had to publish the PCC’s report in both its print and online versions.
As a result of this case, and other cases in the past year in which newspapers have broken the code’s clauses about victims and child victims of sex cases, the PCC stated it plans to “issue new guidance to the industry” on the matter.
Read the full adjudication here.