28 Oct PCC Complaint. The Croydon Guardian, 30th August 2011

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: [email protected]
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 6:15 PM
Subject: Complaint against the Croydon Guardian, issue dated 30th August 2011

Dear Sirs,

“Anti-depressant overdose killed devoted New Addington father”, the Croydon Guardian, 30-08-11

I wish to make a complaint concerning the above article which is still available online at: http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/9222927.Anti_depressant_overdose_killed_devoted_father/

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. In the first paragraph the article states: “…prescribed to deal with cannabis and cocaine-induced psychosis…” This is inaccurate, misleading and distorted information. There is no such condition as cannabis-induced psychosis. This is an invention of the Daily Mail which has been engaged for many years in a systematic campaign of misinformation, dishonesty, falsification and distortion of evidence concerning cannabis. Although science does show that cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis there is no certainty at all that it causes or induces it. 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.

5. Cocaine-induced psychosis is a recognised medical condition. As well as being inaccurate and misleading, it is irresponsible of the newspaper to confuse and misinform readers by conflating cannabis use with the effects of the dangerous drug cocaine.

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.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Reynolds