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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 19:21 GMT
Spelling fines for Swiss journalists
A man sits talking in front of his computer
Sometimes journalists are too busy to check spellings
A leading Swiss newspaper is to fine journalists for bad spelling or grammar in an attempt to persuade sloppy writers to reform their ways.

Le Temps plans to fine journalists nearly three dollars for each mistake - whether it is an incorrectly spelled place name, a badly constructed sentence or missing punctuation.

"We are a quality newspaper, and our readers get annoyed when we make mistakes - which we do too often," deputy chief editor Jean-Jacques Roth told BBC News Online.

"This isn't about policing the staff, but making clear that spelling is important."

A letter from British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Even prime ministers have difficulty spelling
The measures are to be imposed for a month as a trial run.

If the fines pile up, journalists may find themselves discussing their mistakes over a couple of bottles of champagne, said Mr Roth.

He is confident that the exercise will be successful.

Despite the promise of parties, some Le Temps staff are reported to be unhappy with the grammatical clampdown, describing it as overly authoritative.

But they are not the first to face fines for their poor spelling. A Norwegian daily, Bergensavisen, was last year reported to be charging its journalists more than one dollar for each mistake made.

And in Britain, journalists had a field day last year when it was revealed that Prime Minister Tony Blair had difficulty spelling the word tomorrow.

Downing Street initially suggested that it was Mr Blair's handwriting that made the word seem as though it were spelt as "toomorrow" three times in a letter, but the prime minister eventually admitted to having a problem with the word.

See also:

23 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Blair admits spelling gaffe
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