Resolution Statement: Complaint 00898-14 Macfarlane v Manchester Evening News
Summary of complaint
1. James Macfarlane complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Manchester Evening News had published an article, headlined “MEN readers raise £500,000 for Manchester Dogs’ Home”, on 20 November 2014, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
2. The complainant was concerned that the article had misleadingly stated that JustGiving would forward “100 per cent” of donations to charities. He considered that JustGiving was a private business that took a 5% fee from donations.
3. The newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code. It said that when donations were eligible for Gift Aid, charities would receive the money in full. The vast majority of donations were made by UK tax payers and therefore were received in full.
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. As not all donations were eligible for Gift Aid and so were not received in full, the newspaper offered to remove the reference to “100 per cent” so the article would read “JustGiving – a reputable website which forwards generous donations...”
7. The complainant said the amendment would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
8. As the complaint had been successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 03/10/2014Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 04/12/2014 Back to ruling listing