Guardian censured by PCC over serious errors in reports on Queen’s Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt
Newspaper wrongly claimed in three articles that Sir Christopher had a central role in the setting up Royal Charter on press regulation
Ian Burrell is Assistant Editor and Media Editor at The Independent, i paper and Independent on Sunday. He covers news from the whole media sector from television, press, radio and advertising to technology. His weekly column on the media appears every Monday in The Independent and i paper. He also writes on media, music and culture, including long-form pieces for The Independent’s Saturday magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s magazine, New Review. He is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s What The Papers Say and a specialist commentator to Monocle 24 radio. He has contributed to most major broadcast outlets including BBC television and radio, CNN, Sky News, Al Jazeera and LBC. He has also written on media for GQ magazine. Ian has been reporting on the media industry for The Independent for more than a decade. Previously he was the newspaper’s Home Affairs Editor. He worked at The Sunday Times for five years, including as a member of the investigative Insight team, covering stories on political funding, industrial espionage and the arms industry. Previously he worked in ITV for London Weekend Television, on a weekly current affairs programme presented by Danny Baker. Ian trained at the Birmingham Post & Mail and was Regional Reporter of the Year in Press Gazette’s national awards.
Tuesday 19 November 2013
The Press Complaints Commission has censured The Guardian for serious errors in reports on the Queen’s Private Secretary who the newspaper falsely suggested was “jointly responsible” for setting up a Royal Charter on press regulation.
The Guardian had wrongly claimed in three articles that Sir Christopher Geidt had a central role in the setting up of the controversial mechanism for overseeing the newspaper and magazine industries. In fact, his job was simply to act as a channel of communication between the Government and the Queen.
The PCC said the repetition of the errors across a news article, a profile of Sir Christopher and an editorial leader made it a “particularly concerning case”.
Publishing its adjudication, the PCC said: “The inaccuracies were central to the reporting; they appeared across all three items; and they directly contributed to the newspaper’s criticisms of the nature of the complainant’s role and his personal suitability to fill it.”
Charlotte Dewar, the PCC’s Director of Complaints and Pre-publication Services, said The Guardian’s reporting had been based on a “serious misunderstanding”.
The newspaper published a lengthy correction in its Corrections & Clarifications column after the erroneous reports in May, accepting that it had “overstated and misrepresented” the complainant's role. Because of this “fast remedial action”, The Guardian said last night that it was “surprised that this complaint has been upheld”.
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