Daily Express apologises to former MP

Posted by on November 9, 2010 at 4:41 pm.

This was originally posted on Minority Thought

It’s worth reproducing this recent apology from the Daily Express in its entirety:

IN Court yesterday, we apologised to Stephen Hesford former MP for West Wirrall.On 17 October 2009, we published an article entitled “MP who took moral stance “was a sex pest”.  The article reported on proceedings before the Employment Tribunal in Liverpool the day before brought against Mr Hesford by a former employee for sexual discrimination.The article also stated that a claim for sexual harassment had been made but wrongly implied that Mr Hesford was being accused of personally having sexually harassed his former employee and as such was a hypocrite having resigned a month earlier as a matter of principle as a parliamentary aide to the Attorney General.

We accepted that there has been no suggestion of any sexual misbehaviour by Mr Hesford and that the proceedings against him were in his capacity as employer.

We apologised to Mr Hesford and have paid him damages and costs.

Quite a climb down there from the Express.

But what’s more interesting about this apology was the fact that, at the time of writing, it was displayed relatively prominently on the Express’ website.

You might think this is a good sign but it’s almost certainly only a consequence of the fact that this apology was coaxed out of the Express via a court case. This is not usual practice.

If only apologies or expressions of “regret” obtained through the Press Complaints Commission were displayed quite so prominently.

Until newspapers are compelled to print or display apologies with “due prominence”, as the Editors’ Code of Practice supposedly demands, there is no effective deterrent against newspapers making such factual errors in the future.

Unless they get sued, that is…

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