Resolution Statement 00827-17 Ayliffe v Daily Mail

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement 00827-17 Ayliffe v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Tamsin Ayliffe complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) in an article headlined “Queue here for UK's £1bn foreign aid cashpoint: Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... YOUR cash is doled out in envelopes and on ATM cards loaded with money”, published on 2 January 2017. The article also appeared online.

2. The article reported that £1billion of Britain’s foreign aid budget had been allocated to number of countries, in a scheme which distributed financial aid through cash machines. The article criticised the increase in expenditure being allocated to the scheme, because the majority of the aid was being distributed to countries with records of fraud and corruption. The article reported that, "In another of the at least 19 ‘cash transfer’ schemes we will splash out £57million around the repressive and highly corrupt state of Rwanda under a project called ‘Social Protection Support to the Poorest’.

3. The complainant expressed concern that the newspaper was inaccurate and misleading in its characterisation of Rwanda as “highly corrupt”. She said that the Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index 2016 scored Rwanda 54 in a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). She said that this demonstrated that Rwanda was less corrupt than the global average, which was a score of 43.

4. The newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code. It said that its categorisation of Rwanda as “highly corrupt” was accurate, on the basis of reported political repression and limits on freedom of expression in the country. It said that Rwanda’s score on the Corruption Perception Index, was far lower than the UK’s score of 81. It said that given that the article was critical of the spending of British taxpayer’s money, the newspaper was entitled to place Rwanda’s score in that context and apply British standards to the newspaper’s scrutiny of the scheme’s recipients.

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.

Mediated outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. During IPSO’s investigation of the complaint, the newspaper offered to offer publish the following clarification on the online article, as well as in its print edition:

A feature on 3 January described Rwanda as a ‘highly corrupt state’. We have been asked to point out that Rwanda was ranked 50th out of 176 countries, on a scale of least to most corrupt, in the Transparency International ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2016’.

8. The complainant said this would resolve her complaint to her 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: 04/01/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/04/2017 

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