Resolution Statement – 02327-20 Lawson v The Gazette (Paisley)

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement – 02327-20 Lawson v The Gazette (Paisley)

Summary of Complaint

1. Brian Lawson complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Gazette (Paisley) breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined “Coronavirus: Number of confirmed cases rises to 682 in NHS GGC with 50 more deaths overnight” published on 2 April 2020.

2. The article reported on the First Minister of Scotland’s announcement on the Covid-19 death toll in Scotland, which had increased “from 632 to 682 overnight”. 

3. The complainant said the phrase in the headline -“50 more deaths overnight”- was inaccurate. It implied that 50 more deaths had occurred overnight, which was not the case. Rather, 50 deaths were confirmed overnight after delays in reporting deaths over the previous few days, as the First Minister’s full remarks had made clear.

4. The publication did not accept it had breached the Code. It said that they had quickly amended the article to remove the phrase “50 more death overnight” and that the error was not deliberate.

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.

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

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

7. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered to publish the following correction as a footnote to the online article:

“"A previous version of this article contained the headline “Coronavirus: Number of confirmed cases rises to 682 in NHS GGC with 50 more deaths overnight”. To clarify, 50 deaths did not occur overnight. Rather, 50 deaths were confirmed overnight after delays in reporting deaths over the previous few days”

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: 1/4/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 24/6/2020 

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