Mail on Sunday Motability update: Correction appended to original article 19 October 2011

Full Fact: 19 October, 2011 – 10:53 — Patrick Casey
On Monday we highlighted the problem that, despite the Mail on Sunday using its first corrections column to correct a misleading story on the provision of Motability cars for those with disabilities, the online version of the story had not been corrected.

 

The story wrongly claimed that 3,000 suffers of ADHD were entitled to ‘free’ cars from the taxpayer. In fact, less 100 people with the condition would be eligible, and even then the cars are paid out of benefits payments such people are entitled to claim regardless of use of a Motability car.

As we explained at the time, the lack of online correction seemed in conflict with Press Complaints Commission guidance on correcting errors  that have been made in articles that appeared both in print and online.

We contacted the Mail to request that this oversight be addressed, and this morning the Mail on Sunday have responded, appending the correction to the online version of the story.

Unfortunately it appears right at the bottom of the story, taking us into the murky waters of what constitutes ‘due prominence’ for a correction – one of the issues Full Fact is keen for the Leveson Inquiry to address.

The PCC guidance online corrections does not get into specifics on the placement of corrections, leaving an unfortunate degree of latitude.

But compare the MoS correction to one put in place by the Guardian following a complaint about its reporting of the results of Employment Support Allowance claimants taking the Work Capability Assessment.

The correction appears on the page before the main article, allowing readers to be aware or the correction from the outset. This vastly increases the chances of the correction being noticed, rather than relying on readers getting right to the bottom of a piece.

On the plus side the MoS did at least respond to our request in a positive and prompt way, a dialogue we hope to continue raising the above points.

The question now is whether it the paper will embrace the spirit of the rules and make the correction – and future ones – more prominent.

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