Resolution Statement: Complaint 02476-14 Young v Surrey Advertiser
Summary of complaint
1. Alan Young, member for Cranleigh and Ewhurst, Surrey County Council, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Surrey Advertiser had published an article headlined “Raw sewage outbreak adds to residents’ flooding worries” on 5 December 2014, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
2. The complainant expressed concern that the newspaper had wrongly attributed a statement to him, had misreported the position he held at the council, and had compounded the error by repeating it in a reader’s letter. The newspaper had published a correction, but it was not sufficiently prominent and did not include an apology.
3. The newspaper apologised for the error. The incorrect quotations had been provided by a third party source. It explained that the letter was published due to a miscommunication between departments.
Relevant Code Provisions
4. 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. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore instigated an investigation into the matter.
6. The newspaper offered to publish the following apology in its corrections column, half way up page two, in each of the four editions of the newspaper in which the reader’s letter appeared:
In our edition of 12 December 2014 we published a letter that incorrectly alleged that Councillor Young had said “that residents will just have to ‘adjust’ to the new metropolitan Waverley they plan to create”. As previously acknowledged by this newspaper, Councillor Young did not say these words and we would like to offer him our apologies for repeating our earlier misreporting of this.”
7. The complainant said the publication of this apology 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: 15/12/2014
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 09/01/2015Back to ruling listing