Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

A publishing question

with 9 comments

How do I contact a campaign if the “imprint” on a leaflet refers to a shuttered empty shop?

I’ve seen some election material for some candidates in the local government elections in South Tyneside which causes me some concern, and I’d love some further guidance from those more knowledgeable. As a starting point I went to the Electoral Commission website and downloaded this .pdf guide for candidates and agents. I was looking for information about the “imprint” normally found at the foot of a leaflet telling us where we can contact a campaign if we have any concerns about the content, veracity, or authenticity of it.

I found this:

3.20 All election publicity must carry an imprint with details of the full name and
full postal address of the printer and promoter of the material. There is no
longer a requirement to include the details of a publisher; however, if the material
includes the publisher’s details in addition to that of the printer and promoter, this
will be acceptable. The name and address of any person on whose behalf the
material is being published must also be included, if this person is not the
3.21 The intention of imprint requirements is to enable anyone to contact or trace
the source of the material
, for example, in case of any complaint or query about its
content. There is no requirement for an imprint address to be a home address, as
long as it is somewhere the person can be contacted.
3.22 In the view of the Commission, an email address would not be acceptable as
an imprint address because an email address is not a physical address, and it is
possible to create one using false or fictitious details.
3.23 There is no specific legislation regarding the use of a Post Office (PO) Box for
the purpose of imprints. Due to the importance of imprints in enabling parties or
candidates to be contacted during the election period, the Commission’s view is that
as good practice, wherever possible, a PO Box should not be used. This is because
they do not allow the originator of the material to be quickly contacted to request
further information or in the event of a complaint, nor aid transparency

The leaflet  that I am looking at has an address which on investigation turns out to be a shop which has stood empty for years, shuttered, locked, and with no access to a letterbox or letterflap. How could one conceivably say hand deliver a letter to this address to quickly contact the originator?

Additionally the Electoral Commission gives guidance on the use of an imprint for websites and electronic media:

3.29 Any website that refers to an election or candidate(s) should have an imprint
as a matter of good practice. Further, any posters that are available for download
from such a website should also carry an imprint, such as ‘printed and promoted on
behalf of…’.

I know of at least one local candidate in South Shields who has used a social networking site specifically to ask voters in a particular ward to vote for him/her, yet there is no sign of an imprint on the site. Another in South Tyneside displays an imprint on a blog but not on a social networking site which also encourages people to vote for the candidate.

In this modern digital age communication facilities have moved miles ahead of the relevant legislation, I’d appreciate any input from those with greater legal knowledge, I think that the Electoral Commission cannot regulate these things but can only offer guidance. Anybody know the exact legal status of imprints?

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Written by curly

May 3, 2011 at 10:27 am

9 Responses

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  1. Good point Curly. On another issue, why does the gazette give khan publicity when he constantly attacks the paper and its editor on twitter? Very strange

    Allan Steward

    May 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

  2. Sounds like an urgent email enquiry to the EC should be a priority.The puerile vindictive twitter comments about the Gazette editor are indefensible and pointless.


    May 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

  3. Surely the Gazette editor isn’t scared of Khan? All bullies are the same, all mouth and no trousers!

    Janet Cross

    May 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  4. At the end of the day American courts, subpoenas and the hunt for an elusive quarry make for good newspaper copy at local or national level. JS maintains a dignified silence as regards the attacks upon him, which are juvenile schoolyard stuff, but they could potentially stray into defamatory territory if they inacurately and maliciously impugn his professional ability.


    May 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  5. Talking of inaccurately! A book entitled “McNae’s Essential Law For Journalists” is worth a browse, not too academic.


    May 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  6. Slightly off topic, but also an election issue, at least with some: how were local councils able to throw such a veil of secrecy or alleged veil over the negotiations concerning the financing of Newcastle Airport? Would a consortia of Consevative led councils have been more transparent? The floor is yours Curly.


    May 4, 2011 at 7:10 am

    • This is a personal opinion, I don’t know if the Conservatives have a policy position on the issue to be honest, but I’d hope that they would have been more transparent. If there was (in my dreams) a consortia of Conservative councils, I would have hoped that they might have taken a very early decision to sell the airport. I don’t see that local councils should be in the business of running such large commercial ventures. This is a business that should be in the hands of private enterprise to service its customers.


      May 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

  7. Must admit that I am a bit vague on what powers or rights the media and public have to get access to the proceedings of council meetings, although I respect the need for confidentiality regarding some issues. As for ownership I am afraid that I do not share the rose tinted view of the private sector, having been involved with investigations of fraud, incompetence, inefficiency and negligence perpetrated in various forms by the private sector.


    May 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

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