Letter: Facts that the press can report

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The Independent Online
From Mr Richard Stott

Sir: First rule of journalism. Check your quotes. I was misquoted by Henry Porter in the Independent today ("When they publish, damn them," 6 October).

This was taken from a quote in the Times, which has now acknowledged its error:

If he is seriously saying that nobody can report a crime in case somebody is later charged with committing it, it is nonsense. What happens if there is a big bomb and someone is arrested running away from the scene of the crime - does that mean that we cannot now say that 15 people died in the explosion?

Of course, I wouldn't say anything as fatuous as the words the Independent attributes to me. If Mr Porter had read Today, he would have found the correct version of what I said, which was:

This is a hysterical judgment. It is immensely patronising to suggest that jurors cannot tell the difference between newspaper reports and evidence in a court of law.

If the judge's view of what constitutes contempt was taken to its logical conclusion, it would mean that if there was a bomb explosion and someone was immediately arrested and charged, we could not report it.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Stott



London, E1