12 Jan PCC Complaint. The Daily Mail, 9th January 2012

—– Original Message —–

From: Peter Reynolds

Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 6:15 PM

Subject: Complaint against the Daily Mail, issue dated 9th January 2012

Dear Sirs,

“Frankly they don’t give a damn. When will the Government commit to a proper drugs prevention policy?”,The Daily Mail, 09-01-12

I wish to make a complaint concerning the above article which is still available online at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2084174/When-Government-commit-proper-drugs-prevention-policy.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. The article is presented as an opinion piece. However, as detailed below, the points complained about are matters neither of opinion nor comment, they are determined by scientific evidence. The Independent Reviewer has already ruled (21-07-11 letter to Peter Reynolds) that a comment “should not be published if it is based on an inaccuracy or misleading statement”.

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. Under the first picture the caption reads: “Dangerous and addictive: A young girl smoking heroin (posed by model). Reporters posing as children calling the FRANK helpline were told that cannabis is safer than alcohol and that ecstasy would not damage their health”. This is grossly misleading. Using classic and dishonest Daily Mail disinformation techniques, it clearly seeks to associate the picture of the young girl smoking heroin and the phrase “Dangerous and addictive” with cannabis.

6. In the 13th pararaph the article states: “Reporters, posing as children calling the Government’s druggy helpline were told that cannabis is safer than alcohol”, the clear implication being that this is one of the “dangerous scientific inaccuracies” referred to in paragraph 17. In fact, all experts and all the scientific evidence agrees that cannabis is safer than alcohol. Clearly, taking into account Ms Gyngell’s long record of misinformation on this subject, this is not just misleading but mendacious and deliberately false. It is a lie constructed to deceive readers.

7. In paragraph 16 the article uses the phrase “…an irreversibly cannabis-damaged psychotic teen.”. Again this is a mendacious and dishonest phrase. There is no such medical condition and it is just another of Ms Gyngell’s systematic attempts to deceive readers.

8. Ms Gyngell holds herself out as a “research fellow” when in fact she is an ex-producer of down market daytime television. She is a mendacious journalist with a long record of dishonest and misleading writing and is unfit to be published in a British newspaper.

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