Resolution Statement – 02716-21 Savant v Mirror.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Adam Savant complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mirror.co.uk breached Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 5 (Reporting of suicide) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Brit holidaymaker found dead in airport was denied flight for 'being too drunk'”, published on 11 March 2021.
2. The online article reported on the adjournment of inquest proceedings following a formal request made by the family of the deceased.
3. The complainant, acting on behalf of the partner of the deceased, said the article breached Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 5 (Reporting of suicide). He said that the level of detail included within the article was excessive and insensitive, causing considerable distress to the family. He said that the inclusion of photographs of the deceased that were obtained from the Facebook profile of the partner, without her consent, was intrusive. He also expressed concern at the approach made by the reporter to the partner for her comments following the inquest. He disputed that the reporter had attended the inquest; a point claimed within the message sent by the reporter over Facebook messenger.
4. The newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code. Whilst it said that it understood the sensitive nature of the material published, it said that the article was a report of a public inquest; all the details contained in the article had been made public at the inquest, and were reported in a factual manner, without sensationalising the issue. It maintained that the reporter had attended the inquest in person and was satisfied that their approach to the bereaved was handed sensitively. It noted that reporter had taken notes during proceedings and provided a copy of these notes in support of its position in regard to this.
Relevant Code Provisions
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
Clause 5 (Reporting suicide)
When reporting suicide, to prevent simulative acts care should be taken to avoid excessive detail of the method used, while taking into account the media's right to report legal proceedings.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered, as a gesture of goodwill, to remove the online article.
7. The complainant said that this would resolve his complaint.
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: 15/03/2021
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 01/06/2021Back to ruling listing