The Press Complaints Commission has cleared the Daily and Sunday Telegraph after an investigation into whether the papers’ share-tipping column breached financial journalism rules.
A reader of the Questor column complained to the PCC that certain shares in which the column’s editor had a stated financial interest were being tipped with excessive frequency.
The complainant highlighted how a particular investment trust had been tipped on nine occasions between 14 January 2009 and 15 April, 2010.
The newspapers told the PCC its journalist had acted properly at all times. However, following the complaint, it made a voluntary undertaking that the Questor editor would no longer buy or sell shares in the future.
Making its ruling today, PCC said its first time it had passed judgement on any form of financial journalism since the City Slickers case of 2000 which eventually led to two Daily Mirror journalists being convicted of a share tipping scam.
The PCC said it was satisfied the Telegraph had followed the requirements of the Editors Code governing financial journalism.
The press watchdog found the Questor editor had disclosed the interest appropriately to executives and the public; the amounts involved were not especially high; the editor had not sold any shares about which he had written and that the shortest gap between a recommendation and his purchase of the recommended stock was 29 days – therefore there was no evidence of short-term speculation.
Stephen Abell, PCC director, said: “After the City Slickers case in 2000, specific guidance was introduced in the area of financial journalism by the commission.
“This guidance was updated five years ago to take account of relevant legislation, which derived from an EU Directive.
“This complaint was the first occasion on which the updated guidance has been tested and the commission was glad to establish that the newspaper was following all the requirements.”
The PCC said it intended to host a seminar on financial journalism next year to ensure that journalists across the industry remain up to date.
Telegraph Media Group declined to comment.