Football fan fails in complaint over 'Nazi salute' report

The PCC has rejected a complaint from a football fan pictured among a gang of football ‘casuals’who appeared to be making Nazi salutes.

A 45 year-old whisky firm manager reported the Daily Record to the PCC after being suspended from his job.

He was attending the launch of a book about the ‘Motherwell Saturday Service’– who the Record said call themselves the SS – and was pictured making what appeared to be a ‘Sieg heil’gesture.

According to the Record, the group is known for “far-right leanings and the trademark straight-arm salute’and use of the emblem of the Waffen SS.

He was pictured appearing to do Nazi salutes on the steps of Motherwell’s Fir Park stadium in December. The paper also published Waffen SS logos from his publicly accessible Facebook page.

The Record said that after the fan made the complaint it was forced to ‘vigorously defend its reporting”. The press watchdog has since concluded the Record did not breach any part of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

The decision, published by the paper this week, said: ‘The complainant was primarily concerned that the newspaper’s coverage would lead readers to the erroneous understanding that he, or those he was with, had been making Nazi salutes.

‘He explained that there had been no Nazi connotations to the event and that the gestures were prompted by the photographer’s request that they put their hands in the air and ‘look lively’.

‘The complainant highlighted that his fingers were splayed in the photograph, which he said clearly suggested he was waving.

‘Furthermore, he said that while there had been members of the Motherwell SS at the event, he was not affiliated with the collective.

‘The newspaper did not accept its report was inaccurate. It explained that Motherwell SS werea well-known group connected to football hooliganism.

‘The ‘SS’, it said, stood for ‘Saturday Service’; however, it argued that the logo was a copy of that used by the Waffen SS.

‘The newspaper provided photos from a Motherwell SS Bebo profile which showed men making a similar straight-arm salute. In addition, it provided screen grabs from the complainant’s Facebook page with Saturday Service/SS images saved as profile pictures.

‘The newspaper did not accept that the images were for research purposes, as alleged by the complainant.”

According to the Record the PCC said they could not say whether the man was a member of the Motherwell SS or whether his gesture was meant to replicate a Nazi salute, but added: ‘The commission considered that it had been reasonable for the newspaper to infer that the complainant was affiliated with the Motherwell SS, and that the gesture in question sought to replicate a Nazi salute.

‘There was a strong public interest in favour of the reporting or discussion of the far-right, or any suggestion of far-right themed behaviour.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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