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On the reporting of people accused of crime

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The Press Complaints Commission says:

This note brings together the provisions in the Code which are relevant when reporting allegations that individuals have committed a criminal offence. Such allegations might originate from a third party, police sources or a formal police procedure such as an arrest.


Given that there will be occasions where allegations turn out to be ill-founded, particular care must be taken to ensure that they are presented accurately and that conjecture is distinguished from fact. Clause 1 (iv) therefore has a particular relevance in such cases, although this should not be taken as restricting the legitimate rights to freedom of expression that accusers might have. There may be times when it is difficult to substantiate allegations made by third parties, but which ought to be reported in the public interest if true. If editors wish to publish material in these circumstances, they should give serious consideration to doing so without identifying the accused as a way of meeting the requirements of the Code.


For the avoidance of doubt.

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Written by curly

June 22, 2009 at 11:01 am

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