The Daily Mail took exception to “wildy inaccurate” figures which depicted it as the UK’s most complained about newspaper earlier this month.
In a statement the publisher noted that the total complaints figure taken from Press Complaints Commission information included complaints by third parties which were never taken up, many which involved no breach of the code and many which related to Mail Online rather than the Daily Mail.
It noted that neither the Daily Mail or Mail Online had a complaint upheld against them in 2013.
There were just 15 critical PCC adjudications in which a complaint was upheld in 2013 – meaning a publication was forced to publish the ruling. According to the PCC, in a further 103 cases the code was breached, but the publication offered sufficient remedy. And in 461 cases a resolution was mediated by the PCC.
Now campaign group Hacked Off has trawled through the PCC figures to count all the cases where an actual or “probable” breach of the Editors’ Code was reported – even if the complainant was ultimately happy with the resolution offered by the publication.
Counting up this tally, the Daily Mail again finished top – it claims.
Hacked Off counted: the small number of cases where a complaint was upheld, the bigger number were there was a breach but sufficient remedy offered and the biggest group – cases were a resolution was mediated by the PCC (excluding the number where it was recorded that there was no code breach).
My understanding is that it is not fair to say that there was a code breach in all the resolved cases – even if you exclude the cases where 'no breach of the code' was recorded. This figure will include some trivial corrections where these was not breach of the code, and goodwill gestures – such as the removal of an archive story or photo.
So, with those caveats – these are Hacked Off figures:
- Daily Mail: 118
- The Sun: 55
- Daily Telegraph: 41
- Daily Mirror: 28
- Mail on Sunday: 20
By publishing group they are as follows:
- DMG Media (Mail titles plus Metro): 146
- News UK: 74
- Telegraph Media Group: 48
- Trinity Mirror: 40
- Independent Print Ltd: 14
According to Hacked Off, if you just take their tally of cases where there was a code breach, but sufficient remedy was offered, the Daily Mail is top of the table with 14 incidents.
Asked for further clarification on how it arrived at its main league table, a Hacked Off spokesman said: "Our numbers are based on where there is an actual or ‘presumed’ breach of the code, based on the following:
"Adjudication upheld – 'A complaint will be upheld if the Commission finds an unremedied breach of the Code'.
"Adjudication – sufficient remedial action – 'In some instances where the Commission rules that there has been an initial breach of the Code'.
"Resolution – 'where there has been a probable breach of the Code'.
"Sufficient remedial action – 'where the Commission rule that the Code had been breached'.
"We have removed from the total for ‘resolution' where the PCC records specifically there is no breach admitted by the paper."
So far The Guardian, Independent and FT have all declined to sign up to the new Independent Press Standards Organisation because they say it is not independent enough from the industry.
The Guardian explicitly said in its response to the IPSO consultation that it feared the new regulator would be controlled by the Mail group, News UK and Telegraph.