The Press Complaints Commission has upheld a complaint against the Macclesfield Express for naming the victim of a sexual assault. The paper breached clause 11 (victims of sexual assault) of the code of practice when reporting a story about a member of office staff at the complainant’s workplace being convicted of touching her sexually. The terms of clause 11 state that newspapers must not publish material likely to contribute to the identification of victims of sexual assault. Her name, place of work and nature of employment were all reported by an inexperienced reporter, as well as sexually explicit details of the assault. The mistake was not picked up while being sub-edited. After the article was published the complainant’s family, friends and colleagues knew what had happened to her, including all the intimate details.
The Express’s editor immediately accepted his paper breached the code and offered an apology both through the PCC and privately to the complainant.
He also outlined the steps he would take to ensure such a mistake would not happen in the future.
Although the complainant was grateful for the steps taken, she wanted the case to proceed to adjudication.