Sunday Express apologises to Arts Festival following article published 27 August

THE SUNDAY Express has apologised to the organisers of Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival, following an article written by Karen Rockett entitled 'Sects And Drugs And Rock 'n' Roll' and came in the wake of intense press scrutiny of Greenbelt following the Nine O'clock Service scandal in Sheffield. The article, a report of Greenbelt '95 and published on 27 August was called, an "extraordinarily inventive piece of fiction" by Greenbelt Festival Chairman Martin Wroe. A letter from Greenbelt to the Press Complaints Commission said that Karen Rockett had produced a piece which "grossly misrepresents our event."
The apology, published in the Sunday Express on 29 October, admitted that the article had given a "misleading and distorted view of the event," which took place between 25-28 August 1995. Following complaints from Greenbelt organisers and 150 festivalgoers, the Press Complaints Commission had refused to take action against the Sunday Express ruling that no breach of the PCC's Code Of Practice had been committed in the article. However, follow up communication between Greenbelt Publicity Director, John Davies and the Readers Representative of the Sunday Express, Max Davidson, resulted in a recommendation from Mr Davidson that the newspaper should publish a full apology.
Amongst many errors, the original article stated that "You were hard pushed to find worship at all." In fact there were around 25 formal acts of worship, including the Sunday Morning communion attended by the majority of the 20,000 festival goers. A collection at this service raised over £25,000 for over 16 charities. CR

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