Press standard, privacy and libel - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence submitted by the Daily Mail

  We have investigated the suggestion that it was the Daily Mail which revealed the location of the house where Josef Fritzl's daughter has been re-housed.

On 11 March 2009 there was one single mention of the village in the middle of a 2,000 word feature on the impending opening of the Fritzl trial. It was written by a Berlin-based freelance journalist (he is also the author of a book on the case).

  It is regrettable that the reference was not removed by the sub editor concerned but as the article referred to the daughter being re-housed there "in a house provided by the authorities" the freelance's words could have given the impression that this was general knowledge.

  The reference was made in passing and certainly there was no intention by the author or the Daily Mail to claim her whereabouts as any sort of revelation. Equally no-one here—or I suspect in the British media as a whole—was aware over the sensitivity of this matter.

  It is perhaps worth noting that the name of the village had also been given widespread media coverage when the story first broke as another member of the Fritzl family lived there.

  The village was well known to Austrian media and it was named in Britain in a feature in the Independent.

  Neither the author of the article, the Daily Mail nor the PCC have received any complaint relating to this reference.

  We have immediately removed it from our website and marked our cuttings accordingly though unfortunately the fact that it was raised in the public forum of your Committee has meant that extra attention was briefly focused on it.

  Nevertheless I have used this instance as an opportunity to send round a further reminder to our writers and sub editors on the need for constant vigilance on these matters.

April 2009

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