Guardian spurs King to revisit PCC about NoW

By Dominic Ponsford

The former pop singer Jonathan King, who was jailed for having sex
with underage boys, has launched a new Press Complaints Commission case
against the News of the World.

It is a second PCC complaint about the same story, but has been lodged in broader terms than the original one.

It
relates to the 1 May 2005 NoW story headlined “Pervert in the Park”,
which pictured King in a deckchair at a London park, shortly after his
release from prison. It suggested he was “eyeing up young boys”,
“ogling an innocent child” and “mingling with kids”.

King’s first
complaint under clause one of the Editors’ Code (accuracy) suggested
specifically that the picture had been manipulated. This claim was
rejected by the PCC last month.

Now, prompted by Guardian media
commentator Roy Greenslade, King has lodged a second, more general
complaint, that the original News of the World story was inaccurate.

Greenslade
wrote in his Guardian column on 4 July that the PCC should have helped
King frame his first complaint in wider terms, and said: “In rejecting
his claim about doctoring the picture, why did it not add a rider about
the tendentious nature of the article?”

King has included an extract from Greenslade’s article in his new complaint.

Arguing that the piece did breach clause one of the code, he said: “There was no proof that I was ogling anyone.

Naturally enough, there were young people in the park and could have passed by. I did not even go there of my own volition.”

King
also claimed that the NoW was wrong to identify him as a paedophile
(someone who is sexually attracted to children). He said that a child,
as defined by the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933, is someone
under 14. The four boys he was convicted of having sex with were aged
14 and 15.

The PCC has confirmed that it is proceeding with the new complaint and asked the NoW for a response.

This
latest development is likely to further stoke the row between
Greenslade and the News of the World, which started in April when the
paper scrapped two scholarships to City University, where Greenslade is
Professor of Journalism.

The paper said it was dropping the
courses because it believed Greenslade had been conducting a
“relentless hysterical vendetta against the tabloid media” in his
Guardian columns.

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