Will Mirror get PCC rap over Minister private schooling row story?

The Press Complaints Commission looks set to decide whether the Daily Mirror breached the Editor's Code today by naming Ruth Kelly as the Labour minister said to be sending one of her children to private school.

The Mail on Sunday ran the story on its front page yesterday – saying only that a Cabinet Minister had taken their child out of the state system and placed it in a private school which has special provision for children with learning difficulties.

The MoS said yesterday: “Downing Street and the Minister made vigorous efforts to suppress the story. The Mail on Sunday is withholding the name of the Minister, the child, the school and the exact nature of the learning difficulty – which affects about ten per cent of the population – to protect the pupil’s identity.”

Today the Daily Mirror named Ruth Kelly as the minister involved – but did not name her child or the school.

In a leader column, the Mirror said: “Ruth Kelly yesterday attempted to stifle public knowledge of her decision, in effect to keep secret a politically explosive move from the voters who elected her as an MP and from the Labour Party she represents as a member of the government….

“In a democracy it would be in intolerable to gag the media when the Communities Secretary advocates a policy in public then behaves differently in private.”

Clause Six of the PCC Editor’s Code of Practice states:
“Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.”

It also says: “Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child’s private life.”

Picture: Reuters.

For more on this story see Press Gazette magazine this week. To subscribe to Press Gazette, call 01858 438872.

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