MK News rapped for 'inaccurate and intrusive' teen death report

The Press Complaints Commission has ruled that the Milton Keynes News was in breach of the Editors' Code of Conduct for an "inaccurate and intrusive" report on the death of a 13-year-old girl.

In November 2006, an article in the newspaper reported that Deanne Asamoah had committed suicide after finding out her mother was suffering from a medical condition.

The girl's parents argued the News had breached clause one of the code (accuracy)

as there had been no evidence that Deannehad killed herself or that her mother's illness could have been a contributory factor. They also believed the paper had breached her privacy (clause three) by reporting on the mother's illness.

The newspaper said it had learned about the general details in a school newsletter two hours before deadline, and also argued that two separate reliable sources confirmed the story and the relevance of the mother's illness.

The PCC said: "Newspapers have a right to report news about deaths. But in this case, the article represented a serious breach of the code by publishing details, without consent, of Mrs Addai-Twumasi's state of health.

"This information was not in the public domain and there was insufficient public interest for publishing it.

"The intrusion was compounded by the publication of what was ultimately speculation concerning the reasons for the death.

"The Commission regretted that the subsequent reasonable request for an apology had been rejected by the editor.

This was an obvious, and unacceptable, breach of the code that should have been swiftly remedied.

"The Commission had no hesitation in upholding the complaint."

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