Friday, May 11, 2007

Bizarre not that bothered

Back in February, John Coles, a helper on Victoria Newton's Bizarre column, had an article in The Sun which attempted to sneak an invasion of Charlotte Church's privacy. The paper had been told that Church was pregnant:

Mr Melton said that the newspaper had told Ms Church’s PR agent that it had received firm information that she was pregnant.

The paper was told in response that such information was private and would not be commented on. Ms Church’s representatives did however confirm that she was ‘not more than 12 weeks pregnant’ and said that if she was pregnant, no statement would be made until after the 12-week scan or when a doctor said it would be safe to tell family and friends.

Understandable. Not only is the first trimester full of risk you might not want to undergo in public, the Press Complaints Commission is very clear on this sort of thing:
The Commission has recently made clear that newspapers should not reveal the fact of someone’s pregnancy before the 12-week scan without consent and when the information is not known to any significant degree.

So, since they were refused permission to publish what they knew, Coles' name (and, interestingly, Newton's photo byline) went out on a story which reversed the usual Bizarre way of doing things - it reported facts, pretending they were speculation:
CHARLOTTE Church snubbed a boozy 21st bash for a quiet family party — sparking rumours she is pregnant.

The chat show star and singer has finally quit smoking and pals have noticed she has put on a bit of weight in recent weeks.

Church complained to the Press Complaints Commission, which asked The Sun to provide evidence of these 'rumours'. The paper was unable to, and the PCC upheld the complaint. The paper prints the adjudication this morning but - in what we're sure is an oversight and in no waya thumbing of its nose at the PCC - the original story is still online at the moment.


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