Climate Camp launches Press Complaint over G20 article
February 24, 2009
We wish to lodge a complaint about the article, "Anarchists plan City riots for G20 leaders' arrival in London" by Robert Mendick and Nigel Rosser, which appeared in the Evening Standard and Daily Mail on 20 February 2009.
We complain on three counts. First, the article mentions only one group by name, the Camp for Climate Action, and the Camp for Climate Action were never contacted by either Mr Mendick or Mr Rosser for comment on the serious allegation of planning a riot. Second, the article contains no supporting evidence whatsoever of the assertion that the Camp for Climate Action (or anyone else for that matter) are planning a riot on April 1st. We consider the headline and article to be materially misleading. This, in our view, is in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the PCC code.
Third, Mr Mendick and Mr Rosser are repeat offenders in terms of misleading the public regarding the intentions and actions of the Camp for Climate Action. Mr Mendicks article "Militants will hit Heathrow', on 13 August 2007 in the Evening Standard, about the Heathrow Camp for Climate Action, was judged by the PCC to be "materially misleading" and "alarmist".
Similarly, the article, by Mr Mendick and Mr Rosser, "Eco-protesters target school run mothers" in the Evening Standard was again not supported by the evidence, with the Evening Standard suggesting, and the Camp for Climate Action agreeing to the following as a PCC-brokered clarification, "Further to our article of 31 March (Eco-protesters target school run mothers), we wish to make it clear that there is no evidence that climate change protesters had plans to target school run mothers, deflate tyres or cover the windscreens of moving vehicles. No such action took place on 1 April 2008."
We would like (1) an immediate re-writing of the headline of the article on both the Evening Standard and Daily Mail websites, and (2) an apology to the Camp for Climate Action, which should, when agreed, be published with due
We also ask (3) the PCC to consider what else can be done about Mr Mendick and Mr Rosser who have ignored previous rulings regarding their journalistic conduct and continue to smear the Camp for Climate Action with unfounded allegations. It is apparent that the Evening Standard has made the calculation that a retraction or upheld complaint is a small price to pay for the profit they receive by selling sensational and misleading headlines. The previous rulings and actions by the PCC are having no apparent effect on the behaviour of the Evening Standard, so we hope that the PCC can do something more forceful to prevent the Standard from thumbing their noses at the process of self-regulation.
on behalf of the Camp for Climate Action Media Team