PCC Complaint. The Daily Mail, 7th October 2011
“Cannabis compound ‘eases nerve pain caused by cancer drugs’, The Daily Mail, 07-10-11
I wish to make a complaint concerning the above article which is still available online at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2046529/Cannabis-compound-eases-nerve-pain-caused-cancer-drugs.html
I make the complaint on my own account but also in my capacity as the Leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), a UK political party, of P.O.Box 674, Salfords, Redhill, RH1 9BN. For the purposes of correspondence, please use my personal address as below.
I make this complaint in good faith that you will honestly and fairly judge whether or not there have been breaches of the Editors’ Code. Self-evidently it is the duty of the commission to enforce the Editors’ Code. However, it is clear from many decisions that the commission’s focus is actually on finding excuses for breaches of the code. I am also very concerned that the commission is distorting scientific evidence to support its decisions in exactly the same way as some newspapers distort such evidence to enhance their copy. If it can be shown that commission is failing to enforce the Editors’ Code and/or distorting evidence to support the rejection of a complaint then the commission is not acting in good faith and a cause for action arises to recover damages.
1. The article breaches clause 1.i) of the code in that it publishes inaccurate, misleading and distorted information.
2. It also breaches clause 1.iii) in that it fails to distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
3. The article is presented as a news story, not an opinion piece. It should therefore be concerned only with facts – unless comment or conjecture is clearly distinguished.
4. This complaint needs to be seen in the context of the Daily Mail’s systematic campaign over many years of misinformation, dishonesty, falsification and distortion of evidence concerning cannabis. To date the commission has failed to rein in these activities at all or to make any attempt to do so.
5. In the sixth paragraph the article states: “Smoking cannabis has been found to be a major cause of psychotic illnesses in those who are genetically vulnerable.” This is inaccurate, misleading and distorted information. There is no certainty at all that cannabis causes psychotic illnesses. The commission has already received first hand evidence on this from Professor Glyn Lewis of the University of Bristol, internationally recognised as the pre-eminent expert on the subject. All the experts agree that there is no proof of a causal relationship. Even the anti-cannabis campaigner Professor Sir Robin Murray concedes that there is no proof. The idea that cannabis causes psychosis is a myth promoted by the Daily Mail for many years which has no basis in fact. What science shows is that cannabis use may increase the risk of psychosis but to a far lesser degree than alcohol, tobacco, energy drinks and many OTC or POM medicines.
I would be grateful if you would deal with this complaint at your earliest convenience. I shall be happy to provide any further information required or to give oral evidence in support.