· Decision of the Complaints Committee 02374-15 Roberts v Lancaster Guardian
Summary of complaint
1. John Roberts complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Lancaster Guardian had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice by publishing a letter headlined “Pedestrians are getting a raw deal”, on 5 March 2015.
2. The letter under complaint was about walking conditions for pedestrians, and encouraged people who were affected by poor conditions to campaign for safer streets.
3. The complainant said that the letter had been attributed to him, signed with his name and partial address, but he had not sent the letter.
4. The newspaper said that it had published the letter in good faith. The email address from which it had been received was the same one which the complainant was using for his correspondence with IPSO. The newspaper provided a copy of the email it had received. It said that it requires letter writers to supply a full name and address, and that that condition had been met on this occasion. It said that it had no reason to suspect that the letter was not genuine. It was not considered controversial in any way, and was deemed suitable for publication.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.
Findings of the Committee
6. The newspaper had followed its standard procedures regarding the publication of readers’ letters. In attributing the letter to the complainant the newspaper had not failed to take care over the accuracy of the letter. The newspaper had also been able to show that the email had been received from an email address used by the complainant, in which the complainant’s name and address had been provided. There was no breach of Clause 1 (i). The Committee noted that the content of the letter was innocuous and did not reveal any private information about the complainant; the Committee did not identify any significant inaccuracies which would require correction under the terms of Clause 1 (ii).
7. The complaint was not upheld.
Remedial Action Required
Date complaint received: 30/03/2015
Date decision issued: 22/05/2015Back to ruling listing