Today I received an email from Simon Yip of the PCC in response to my complaint, posted on 4th April, as follows:
Thank you for your contacting the Press Complaints Commission. I do apologise for the slight delay in responding, which was due to the number of complaints we have received regarding the Daily Mail coverage.
You have raised concerns over one or both of the following the Daily Mail articles: “Vile product of Welfare UK: Man who bred 17 babies by five women to milk benefits system is guilty of killing six of them” (3 April 2013) and “Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: His story shows the pervasiveness of evil born out of welfare dependency” (2 April 2013).
The Commission has received a large number of complaints about this coverage, many of which have been framed under Clauses 3 (Privacy), 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock), 6 (Children) and 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. In general, the Commission’s experience has been that it is best able to consider complaints about such issues – including whether an article has intruded into the grief or privacy of a family – with the involvement of the family.
Given the nature of the story, it appears that it would be difficult for the Commission to investigate or understand this matter fully without the participation of the family involved. In addition, the outcome of a Commission investigation (such as a correction, apology or adjudication, for example) would need their approval.
We recognise, however, that the concerns you have raised are significant. Therefore, in the first instance, we will attempt to contact members of the family to make them aware of our services and the fact that we have been alerted to this coverage as a possible concern. We will endeavour to keep you updated on the outcome, but I should make clear that these approaches frequently take some time to result in a decision whether or not to take forward a complaint, so it may not be possible in this case to revert to you.
In regard to complaints about matters of general fact under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code, the Commission can investigate complaints from any concerned reader. As such, we are currently investigating the accuracy of these articles following earlier complaints.
You are most welcome to contact us if you would like to follow up on these cases.
Press Complaints Commission