Press Ombudsman gets 200 complaints


ALMOST 200 complaints were made to the Press Ombudsman in the office's first six months in operation, new figures show.

Of 193 complaints received between January and June this year, 20 were decided upon by the ombudsman, Prof John Horgan, while 102 fell outside the remit of the office and three were successfully mediated.

The remaining cases are ongoing, while a small number were not proceeded with. Most of those which came outside the ombudsman's remit had been published before its mandate began on January 1st.

Statistics published by the ombudsman's office yesterday show that, of the 20 cases decided upon, one was fully upheld, six were partially upheld and 12 were not upheld. In the final case, the newspaper offered sufficient remedial action to resolve the complaint.

The ombudsman's office was set up in response to concerns about the absence of any mechanism for the public to make complaints about articles published about them without recourse to the law courts. Some 39 per cent of complaints between January and June were made by the subject of an article, while 34 per cent were made by a third party and 24 per cent by a relative.

Two-thirds of the articles complained of appeared in national newspapers. Just 7 per cent were published in regional papers.

"Truth and accuracy" of reports was cited by 38 per cent of the complainants.