Resolution Statement 01880-20 Gregory v Hull Live

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement -- 01880-20 Gregory v Hull Live

Summary of Complaint

1. Ron Gregory complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Hull Live breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief and shock) and Clause 8 (Hospitals) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “All hospital car park charges for staff immediately suspended”, published on 19 March 2020.

2. The article reported on a statement made by “HSE CEO, Paul Reid” with regards to suspending parking charges at hospitals and healthcare facilities for the staff.

3. The complainant said that the article was misleading in breach of Clause 1 as most readers would assume that the “HSE” referred to in the article was the Health and Safety Executive, the UK government agency,  and therefore that the free parking applied to British hospitals and healthcare facilities. At no point did the article make clear that it was referring to Ireland’s Health Service Executive.

4. The complainant also said that the article breached Clause 4 (Intrusion into shock and grief) and Clause 8 (Hospitals) for the same reasons.

5. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. It said that the article was provided by an agency in good faith, and was not inaccurate, as Paul Reid of the HSE had made the statement. It also said that the following week, it had published a similar article when free parking was extended to NHS staff. In addition, it noted that the article had been deleted after less than two hours.

6. The publication said that the terms of Clause 4 and Clause 8 were not engaged.

Relevant Code Provisions

7. 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.

8. Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)

In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

9. Clause 8 (Hospitals)*

i) Journalists must identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible executive before entering non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions to pursue enquiries.

ii) The restrictions on intruding into privacy are particularly relevant to enquiries about individuals in hospitals or similar institutions.

Mediated Outcome

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

11. The publication offered to print the following correction:

An article of 19 March was headlined 'All hospital car park charges for staff immediately suspended'. We would like to clarify that this was in relation to HSE (Ireland's Health Service) staff, and did not include NHS staff at the time the article was published. In fact, Matt Hancock announced on 25 March that NHS staff were to receive free car parking. We are happy to clarify this and apologise for any confusion caused.

12. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

13. 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: 18/03/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 17/04/2020

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