23 Aug PCC Complaint. The Daily Mail, 22nd August 2012

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: complaints@pcc.org.uk
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 2:56 PM
Subject: Complaint against The Daily Mail, issue dated 22nd August 2012
Dear Sirs,

“Scientists find switch in the brain that could cause psychosis and addiction for cannabis users”, The Daily Mail, 22-08-12

I wish to make a complaint concerning the above article which is still available online at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2192038/Scientists-switch-brain-cause-psychosis-addiction-cannabis-users.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.

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. 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.

4. In the first pararaph the article states: “Scientists have found a switch in the brain which may explain why smoking cannabis causes psychosis and addiction in more than one-in-ten users.” This is inaccurate, misleading and distorted information. There is no credible evidence of any causal link between cannabis use and psychosis. The Daily Mail is fully aware of this and has published corrections in response to previous complaints acknowledging this. To repeat what it already knows and has acknowledged to be false is a very serious and deliberate breach of the code.

5. In the seventh paragraph the article states: “…cannabis can cause addiction and psychosis in up to 12 per cent of users.” which is a further breach of the code as set out in 4) above.

6. I have been in direct contact with Dr Alasdair MacKenzie, the lead scientist on the research to which this article relates. He deplores The Daily Mail’s coverage of his work and we will jointly submit supplementary information to this complaint within the next few days.

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

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