Telegraph fined £30,000 over email urging readers to vote Tory

Only thirty grand?

The Information Commissioner has been far too lenient.

A more appropriate penalty might have been, say, £1 for every email sent.

It would still cost the Torygraph far less than the damage a Tory Government is doing to the UK will cost the electorate.

The Telegraph has been fined £30,000 for sending hundreds of thousands of emails on the day of the general election urging readers to vote Conservative.

In what he described as an “unprecedented step”, Daily Telegraph editor Chris Evans asked readers to back the Tories in a letter added to its daily email.

But data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office found the newspaper’s parent company, Telegraph Media Group, broke direct marketing rules.

Source: Telegraph fined £30,000 over email urging readers to vote Tory | Media | The Guardian

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15 thoughts on “Telegraph fined £30,000 over email urging readers to vote Tory

  1. rupertrlmitchell

    I am amazed that such a tabloid should sink quite so low. What a dreadful error of judgment and certainly the fine was no more than a slap on the wrist. I wonder what would have happened if the Daily Mirror had been so stupid.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s a broadsheet, not a tabloid. In fairness, I don’t think the Information Commissioner would have treated a paper otherwise, just because it had a different political leaning.

      1. NMac

        Perhaps the Torygraph would be better described as a tabloid masquerading as a broadsheet, after all it is catering for less intelligent right-wingers.

  2. Mr.Angry

    That is peanuts they probably spend that on their coffee each month, but I suppose the commissioner had to exercise his authority, pity he did not do more with IDS re VP’s request om mortality statistics.

  3. john kettle

    Hmm, I wonder how many of those readers were in marginals and how it affected the election result?
    It seems that this is chicken feed given its potential impact, something that the Information Commissioner didn’t (or didn’t want to) take into consideration.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Torygraph readers who were persuaded to vote Conservative will have helped condemn us all to another five years of Tory government which is hugely harmful to the nation as a whole.
      Anyone who asks, “Where is the harm?” would have to be stupid, or a Tory like you who’s trying to spread disinformation.

      1. hayfords

        The offence related to a technical breach of direct marketing rules because the recipients had not specifically opted in to messages of that type. There was no breach of election rules as it is permissible to send such emails on election day. You could reasonably expect that most of the Telegraph’s email subscribers would be Conservative voters and I guess that is what the papers thought. As I said, where is the harm. It relates to a handful of people. If anything, the fine is probably too high

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No – it was hugely harmful, for the reasons I’ve already stated. Since the recipients had not opted in to messages of that type, I stand by my assertion that the Torygraph should have been fined at least £1 for each offending email sent.
        You might expect the Torygraph‘s subscribers to be Conservative voters, but how can you be sure? Do you think Sun readers are mostly Tories?
        Just to be certain this doesn’t happen again, perhaps the Information Commissioner should call for an amendment to the Gagging Act, saying newspapers should be included as non-party campaigners, unless they take all possible steps to maintain strictly impartial political coverage at all times.

  4. hayfords

    The regulations regarding sending unsolicted messages are not concerned with consequential problems. They are purely interested in breaches of the regulations. For a first offence, the penalty is small and usually much smaller than this one. Large fines are reserved for persistent offenders. I would expect that the Telegraph would still get a relatively small fine for a second such emailing. The regulations are pretty tame. I used to own a direct marketing software company sending out about 1 million letters a month by post, sometimes as many as 5 million. I always thought the regulations should be tougher for some infringements. Curiously, emailing people acquired via web sites is more controlled than post. I could buy a list of people such as shareholders in a company, subscribers to a magazine or responders to questionnaires and send them almost anything by post after removing anyone on the Mailing Preference Society.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      So the regulations must be tightened, then.
      How refreshing to see a Tory suggesting it!

Comments are closed.