27 Sep PCC Complaint. The Daily Mail, 27th September 2012

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: [email protected]
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 3:45 PM
Subject: Complaint against The Daily Mail, issue dated 27th September 2012

Dear Sirs,

“Cannabis users can suffer same acute withdrawal symptoms as tobacco smokers when they quit“, The Daily Mail, 27-09-12

I wish to make a complaint concerning the above article which is still available online at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2209405/Cannabis-users-experience-withdrawal-symptoms-acute-tobacco-smokers-quit.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: http://clear-uk.org/pcc-complaint-the-daily-mail-from-2001-to-2011/

4. The study to which this article relates was funded and published by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), an organisation whose aims are self-evident and should therefore preclude its work being described as ‘scientific evidence’. By definition it is not impartial. It is in fact a publisher of propaganda from a biased and unscientific point of view. David Allsop, described in the article as “lead author” of the study is employed as a lecturer and propagandist by the NCPIC: http://ncpic.org.au/ncpic/about/staff/article/david-allsop. Failing to apprise readers of the true source of this study is misleading

5. In paragraph 11 the article states: “long term use can also cause loss of motivation and depression”. This is inaccurate. There is no evidence to show a causal link.

6. In paragraph 12 the article states: “Other recent research has shown the drug can be a major cause of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia in those who are genetically vulnerable.“. This is inaccurate. There is no evidence of a causal link.

7. The Daily Mail is fully aware of the absence of any evidence to show the causal links which this article describes 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.

8. In knowingly and deliberately seeking to advance these untruths yet again, the Daily Mail is seeking deliberately to mislead readers with inaccurate and distorted information. It makes a mockery of previous PCC complaint resolutions and demonstrates the mendacity and lack of good faith in Daily Mail journalism.

9. I request that the commission should regard this as a deliberate breach of the code made in the full knowledge that it is inaccurate, misleading and distorted and in blatant defiance of previous resolutions. I rely on the commission to determine an appropriately severe sanction against the newspaper including a correction which should acknowledge that these are untruths that the Daily Mail has published repeatedly.

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