Press Complaints commission and Euan Blair

 Prime Minister Tony Blair’s complaint to the Press Complaints Commission over articles in The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail has been successful. They revealed that Euan Blair had been interviewed by Oxford University to study history and politics.

The Prime Minister and his wife complained under two clauses of the Code of Practice:

lClause 6 (i): "Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion."

lClause 6 (v): "Where material about the private life of a child is published, there must be justification for publication other than the fame, notoriety or position of his or her parents or guardian."

The Daily Telegraph argued that the story was not about Euan Blair but about the choices that the Prime Minister and his wife made about their children’s education, which was particularly relevant in the context of previous debate about admissions policies of Oxbridge colleges.

It believed that there was a legitimate public interest in reporting where Prime Ministers choose to educate their children.

The Daily Mail stated that it had phoned the Downing Street press office with the story, but was told that it had no comment to make.

At no time did the Downing Street press office indicate that the story was considered to be intrusive.

Had it done so, the Mail said that the matter would have been referred to the editor for further consideration.

In upholding the complaint, the commission stated that The Daily Telegraph had not proved the intrusion to have been "necessary" under Clause 6 (i). Further, the article had contained no reference to the previous debate about the admissions policies of Oxbridge colleges.

Although this part of the code relates to those aged under 16, the commission felt that the spirit of the code could be applied in these circumstances.

Under Clause 6 (v), the commission believed that, while a local or national newspaper might well report on the outcome of an individual’s entrance procedure to university, it was highly unlikely that any newspaper would comment on the private application procedure of an ordinary individual. There was, therefore, also a breach of this part of the code.

With regard to the Daily Mail’s "mitigating circumstances", the commission has not adjudicated against it yet, but expects the newspaper to resolve the dispute itself, failing which, it will issue an adjudication without delay.

 

 

 

Martin Kramer is a partner in the media and litigation group at Theodore Goddard

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s complaint to the Press Complaints Commission over articles in The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail has been successful. They revealed that Euan Blair had been interviewed by Oxford University to study history and politics.

The Prime Minister and his wife complained under two clauses of the Code of Practice:

lClause 6 (i): "Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion."

lClause 6 (v): "Where material about the private life of a child is published, there must be justification for publication other than the fame, notoriety or position of his or her parents or guardian."

The Daily Telegraph argued that the story was not about Euan Blair but about the choices that the Prime Minister and his wife made about their children’s education, which was particularly relevant in the context of previous debate about admissions policies of Oxbridge colleges.

It believed that there was a legitimate public interest in reporting where Prime Ministers choose to educate their children.

The Daily Mail stated that it had phoned the Downing Street press office with the story, but was told that it had no comment to make.

At no time did the Downing Street press office indicate that the story was considered to be intrusive.

Had it done so, the Mail said that the matter would have been referred to the editor for further consideration.

In upholding the complaint, the commission stated that The Daily Telegraph had not proved the intrusion to have been "necessary" under Clause 6 (i). Further, the article had contained no reference to the previous debate about the admissions policies of Oxbridge colleges.

Although this part of the code relates to those aged under 16, the commission felt that the spirit of the code could be applied in these circumstances.

Under Clause 6 (v), the commission believed that, while a local or national newspaper might well report on the outcome of an individual’s entrance procedure to university, it was highly unlikely that any newspaper would comment on the private application procedure of an ordinary individual. There was, therefore, also a breach of this part of the code.

With regard to the Daily Mail’s "mitigating circumstances", the commission has not adjudicated against it yet, but expects the newspaper to resolve the dispute itself, failing which, it will issue an adjudication without delay.

 

 

 

Martin Kramer is a partner in the media and litigation group at Theodore Goddard

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