Press Complaints Commission | UK Fibromyalgia & ME Association v The Sun | 2 May 2012

May 2, 2012

From the Press Complaints Commission website: 5 May 2012

Complainant Name:

Resolved – UK Fibromyalgia & ME Association v The Sun

Clauses Noted: 1, 12

Publication: The Sun


The Press Complaints Commission received 164 complaints from individuals who were concerned that the newspaper had published a comment piece that made a number of inaccurate assertions about medical conditions such as ME and fibromyalgia in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code. The alleged errors related to the history of the conditions and the severity of symptoms. The ME Association and UK Fibromyalgia were selected as lead complainants and additional concerns were raised that the column was prejudicial and pejorative in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination).


The newspaper argued that under the terms of the Code, its columnist was permitted to express his personal opinion about the nature of the medical conditions in question. However, the newspaper accepted that contrasting views on the matter existed and should be aired. While the complainants considered that the columnist should have offered an apology, the complaint was resolved following the publication of a number of critical letters from readers (including the ME Association) and a follow-up feature on ME and fibromyalgia which provided factual information about the conditions and highlighted appropriate case studies.

Date Published: 02/05/2012

2 thoughts on “Press Complaints Commission | UK Fibromyalgia & ME Association v The Sun | 2 May 2012”

  1. I tried to send this but the email would not work

    the Leeds clinic is having cut backs. people with ME CFS are being encoraged to give money and support this clinic many of these people are being asked to use there very limited energy to help. i feel that people should know that this is a psychiatric based clinic. If this Clinic has nothing to hide then people should be informed and then chose to support it or not if they want to.
    Best wishes

    The lead clinician in charge of the Leeds clinic is Dr David Protheroe, a
    liaison psychiatrist who specialises in functional disorders (“medically
    unexplained symptoms”); he claims that only three percent of the clinic’s
    600 patients a year engage with an immunologist.

    It is interesting to recall that one of the authors of a paper published in
    2010 was an immunologist and that the authors found that 40% of patients
    referred to a medically run specialist ME/CFS clinic were found not to have
    ME/CFS when appropriately investigated (JL Newton, G Spickett et al; J R
    Coll Physicians Edinb 2010:40:304-307).

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