Resolution statement 00062-18 Two individuals v Sunday Express
Summary of complaint
1. Two individuals complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sunday Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article published in print and online on 8 October 2017.
2. The article reported a series of details and claims regarding the death of the complainants’ relative.
3. The complainants
said that the article had inaccurately reported the facts of their relative’s
death, and said that publishing these alleged inaccuracies intruded into their
grief and shock. The complainants also said that when they became aware the
article may be published, they had made the publication aware that they
disputed the accuracy of the information and believed its publication would be
distressing, however the article was still published.
4. The newspaper
did not accept that it had breached the Editors’ Code. It said it had
corroborated the information in the article with a number of sources, and made
an inquiry to a foreign police force prior to publication. It said that while
the complainant’s disagreed with the article, it was entitled to publish claims
surrounding the circumstances of the individual’s death.
Relevant Code provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)
In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s
investigation, the publication offered to remove the online article under
complaint, and a related article and video in order to resolve the matter.
8. The complainants said that this would resolve the matter to their satisfaction.
9. As the complaint
was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a
determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 03/01/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 21/05/2018
Back to ruling listing