Resolution Statement - 01088-18 Staples v Yorkshire Post
Summary of complaint
1. Dr David Staples complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Yorkshire Post breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Freemasons ‘still active’ at Westminster” published online on 9 February 2018.
2. The article reported that two Freemasons’ lodges established for members of parliament and political journalists were continuing to operate secretly at Westminster. It reported claims made by another publication about the membership of the two lodges, and stated that the identities of the members remain unknown outside the world of Freemasonry. It also reported the claim that one lodge had 30 to 40 members, four of whom were thought to be MPs.
3. The complainant, CEO of The United Grand Lodge of England, said that the article was inaccurate, as the lodges reported on in the article were not secret and do not have MPs or journalists in their respective memberships. He also said that the lodge listed as having 30 to 40 members only had 22 members and said that no lodge met in Westminster.
4. The publication did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that the article had been provided by a reputable news agency, and had made clear that it was reporting claims made by another publication.
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the publication removed the online article.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his 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: 06/02/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 23/04/2018Back to ruling listing