Decision of the Complaints Committee 02251-14 Ashiq v Birmingham Mail
Summary of complaint
1. Kiran Ashiq complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Birmingham Mail had breached Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Drunk Bordesley Green husband who beat his pregnant wife jailed for three years”, published in print and online on 6 December 2014.
2. The article reported that the complainant’s husband had been jailed after being convicted of assaulting her. The complainant had been named in the article, which she said was a breach of Clause 3.
3. The newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code; the complainant’s name had been given in court and, in the absence of specific reporting restrictions, it was entitled to publish this information. Nonetheless, it had removed the complainant’s name from the online article, as a gesture of goodwill.
Relevant Code Provisions
4. Clause 3 (Privacy)
(i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications
(ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent.
The Public Interest
4. The Regulator will consider the extent to which material is already in the public domain, or will become so.
Findings of the Committee
5. The Committee recognises the importance of the general principle of open justice. Newspapers are, subject to any restriction on reporting imposed by the Code or the law, entitled to publish material disclosed during legal proceedings. Where such material is heard in open court it is, in any case, already in the public domain. In this instance, whilst the Committee understood that the complainant was upset by the article, there were no requirements which would prevent the publication of her name. As such, there was no breach of Clause 3. Nevertheless, the Committee welcomed the newspaper’s decision to remove the complainant’s name from the online article.
6. The complaint was not upheld.
Remedial Action Required
Date complaint received: 08/12/2014
Date decision issued: 31/03/2015Back to ruling listing