The PCC has upheld a complaint against the Scottish edition of the Mail on Sunday after it published an article claiming a US based charity was subject to a criminal investigation.
Mr Alan Bain, president of the American-Scottish Foundation (ASF), had objected to an article
published on the 20th May this year under the headline “Tartan Day chief facing $1m charity cash probe” suggesting that ASF was at the centre of a criminal investigation by the Office of New York’s Attorney General (OAG). The piece was written by a freelance journalist who had herself initiated the complaint to the OAG, relying on information she had received from third parties. With no investigation having been followed up the article was both inaccurate and misleading. It was therefore held to be in breach of Clause 1 of the PCC Code:
“The Commission considered that the article was clearly misleading as it failed to make clear that the complaint to ONYAG had been made by the article’s author. While she may well have made the complaint as a result of concerns being raised with her by third parties, this was not reflected in the coverage.
There was also no evidence that, as a result of the complaint, the complainant or the ASF charity were ‘at the centre of a criminal investigation’ ”
Full adjudication HERE
The Mail on Sunday has today published an apology and acknowledged:
“Further to the PCC's adjudication above, we also accept that Mr Bain and his family have made substantial donations to the ASF and that a company in which Mr Bain has a shareholding – World Wide Business Centres – has also donated office space free of charge to the ASF. We also accept Mr Bain's assurances that the ASF has not paid for any flights he has taken to Scotland.
We accept Mr Bain had no interest in the Harris Tweed industry in 1993 when the ASF gave funds to the Highland Fund, which decided to use the money to purchase a prototype loom. We are happy to set the records straight and apologise to Mr Bain and his family and to ASF for any distress caused. “