PCC investigates as complaints about Heat soar
LONDON - The Press Complaints Commission has launched an investigation into the sticker in celebrity weekly Heat that mocked Jordan's disabled son Harvey, as the number of complaints it has received from the public soars to 100.
The PCC took action after receiving an official complaint from Jordan's solicitors, framed under clauses 6 and 12 of the commission's Code of Practice.
Reality TV star Jordan, real name Katie Price, complained to the PCC after Emap's weekly celebrity magazine Heat distributed a free sheet of stickers in last week's issue featuring her son Harvey, who suffers from septo-optic dysplasia.
One of the stickers featured her son accompanied by the text "Harvey wants to eat me!". Harvey's condition causes blindness and growth hormone deficiency among a range of other medical problems such as weight gain.
Jordan's solicitors have cited clause 6 in the PCC's Code of Practice, which is dedicated to the protection of children and specifically bans the press from photographing children under 16 on issues involving their welfare unless a custodial parent consents.
The clause also states that editors must not use the "fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification" for publishing details of a child's private life.
Jordan's solicitors have also cited clause 12 in the PCC's code of practice as part of their official complaint.
Clause 12 in the PCC's Code of Practice centres on discrimination and prohibits the press from making a prejudicial reference to an individual's physical or mental illness or disability.
At the end of last week, the PCC had received 56 complaints from members of the public, but that number has now risen to 100, as news of the row spread to the national press.
A spokeswoman for the PCC said the number of complaints was still increasing and they expect to receive more than 100.
It has written to Mark Frith, Heat's editor-in-chief, and will proceed with its investigation once he has responded.
The PCC will then decide whether to uphold or dismiss Jordan's complaint, with the whole process likely to take up to 30 days.
The highest sanction the PCC can impose on Heat, which has received acres of negative publicity in the national press and internet forums, is to force the magazine to issue an apology in the magazine's pages with due prominence.
Emap has issued an apology, in which the company revealed Frith had already contacted Jordan to apologise and would be following a phone call with a written apology.
The company has also received a number of complaints from members of the public over the sticker, which prompted a written statement, in which it said: "No offence was intended by the Harvey sticker but we unreservedly apologise for any offence caused as a result."
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