Resolution Statement – 00239-21 Treatz SHEFF LTD T/A v thestar.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Treatz SHEFF LTD T/A complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thestar.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “The TEN Sheffield takeaways fined thousands for breaching the coronavirus curfew”, published on 5 November 2020.
2. The article, which only appeared online, reported that ten takeaways in Sheffield had “been fined £1000” each for “breaching a trading curfew.” It also included a quote from a Sheffield City Council spokesperson, who said that the fined businesses had “ignored the advice and warning letters that have been issued to hospitality venues.” Finally, it stated that “enforcement officers witnessed customers being served at the front door of Treatz Dessert Parlour.”
3. The complaint was brought by one of the businesses named in the article as having been fined “for breaching the coronavirus curfew.” It said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1; it had not been fined by the council, and as the publication had not approached it for comment it had not been able to refute these claims.
4. The publication said it had been informed by the council that the complainant had been fined for breaching the coronavirus curfew. However, it offered to print an interview with the owner of the complainant business to put their side of the story on the record, and also to expand on the challenges facing local businesses during the pandemic.
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties, with the publication noting that emails it had sent were not received by the complainant. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. The publication said it received confirmation from the council that the fine against the complainant had been dropped. It offered to write another story about the complainant making clear that the fine had been dropped.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to its 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: 06/01/2021
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 05/03/2021Back to ruling listing