The Sun has been slapped for a rather underhand story about Charlotte Church, which broke the PCC rules on pregnancy: you don’t report pregnancies before the 12-week stage. That’s because if something’s going to go wrong, it’s likely to go wrong before the 12-week point – which is why in many cases people don’t tell family and friends, let alone the media, until after that point.
The Sun guessed Church was pregnant and contacted her PR for confirmation. The PR tactfully explained the situation, and made it clear that if Church actually was pregnant, she hadn’t yet reached the 12-week stage.
The Sun, then, didn’t have a story – or at least, a story it could legitimately print. But it decided to run it anyway. The excellent No Rock’N’Roll Fun explains what happened next:
So, since they were refused permission to publish what they knew, Coles’ name (and, interestingly, Newton’s photo byline) went out on a story which reversed the usual Bizarre way of doing things – it reported facts, pretending they were speculation… Church complained to the Press Complaints Commission, which asked The Sun to provide evidence of these ‘rumours’. The paper was unable to…