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With the dramatic headline ‘Sorry We Were Hoaxed’ on 15 May 2004 the Daily Mirror joined a select group of publications to make a front page apology. And it lost an editor in the process. Two weeks previously, the paper had printed photographs it claimed showed British soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq. The front page of that Saturday edition admitted they were fakes. ‘So to you today we apologise for publishing pictures which we now believe were not genuine.’

Apologies feature in both press and broadcasting codes of practice but there's nothing in either that directs offenders on when an apology should be given. Much, however, is said about how quickly something should be corrected. And printing or broadcasting a correction doesn't necessarily go hand in ...

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