Resolution Statement - 01221-20 Morgan v Monmouthshire Beacon

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement – 01221-20 Morgan v Monmouthshire Beacon

Summary of Complaint

1. Clive Morgan complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Monmouthshire Beacon breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined “Residents claim planning decision 'undemocratic'” published on 19 February 2019.

2. The article reported that plans to build a new house in Osbaston had been approved by Monmouthshire County Council’s planning committee. It reported that this was “despite 60 objections from residents” and “Welsh Water’s own concerns with the development”.

3. The complainant said that the statement that there was “60 objections from residents” was inaccurate as there were around 50 objections from 25 individual residents. The complainant also said that whilst Welsh Water submitted a letter as part of the planning process, they did not object to the development.

Relevant Code Provisions

4. 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.

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Mediated Outcome

5. The complaint was not resolved during the referral period. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

6. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered to publish the following correction:

“Our article, “Residents claim planning decision ‘undemocratic’” (19 February 2020), reported that planning permission had been approved for a new house in Beaufort Road, Osbaston. It reported that the plans attracted “60 objections from residents”. In fact, there were around 50 objections from 25 individual residents. We also stated that Welsh Water had its “own concerns with the development.” We wish to make it clear that Welsh Water did not object to the application. We apologise for any distress that this confusion has caused, and are happy to clarify.”

7. The complainant said that this 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: 26/02/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 28/04/2020

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