Resolution Statement: Complaint 00186-14 Khan v The Daily Telegraph
Summary of complaint
1. Shoaib Khan complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Telegraph had published an article, headlined “Terrorists behind ‘China 9/11’ massacre on trial”, on 12 September 2014, that raised a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
2. The complainant expressed concern that the newspaper had stated as fact that those appearing in court charged with carrying out a railway station massacre were guilty. He said that by calling the accused “terrorists” and “masterminds” when there had been no indication of a guilty plea, the newspaper had potentially prejudiced the trial and had misled readers.
3. The newspaper said that headlines must be read in context with articles as a whole. In this instance, the article made clear that the defendants were on trial for allegedly masterminding a train station massacre; it was absolutely clear that the trial was on-going.
Relevant Code Provisions
4. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore instigated an investigation into the matter.
6. The newspaper offered to make amendments to the headline and standfirst of the article, which had been published online only, to specifically refer to the fact the individuals were accused or suspected of the crime.
7. The complainant confirmed that the amendments would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
8. 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: 15/09/2014
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 29/09/2014Back to ruling listing