Resolution Statement – 02883-20 Longstaff v thesun.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Chloe Longstaff complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thesun.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “DYING WISH Young dad with coronavirus married fiancee in hospital with tin foil rings hours before he died”, published on 21 April 2020.
2. The article reported on an unofficial wedding ceremony between a man and his partner. The headline, and the article described the man as “A young dad with coronavirus”. It described the ceremony, and stated that “The dying father's daughter watched the couple exchange their vows and say "I do" in PPE on FaceTime” and that the “couple exchanged vows in full PPE hours before the patient died”. Neither the man, his daughter nor his fiancée were named in the article.
3. The complainant, the daughter of the man, said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. She said that her Father had been tested for COVID-19 and had received negative test results. She also said it was inaccurate to report that they had been wearing full PPE, as she had been on a videocall during the ceremony, and provided a photograph of them in hospital without full PPE on.
4. The publication said it had taken care over the publication of the article, and the source of its information had been an article written by the BBC which had reported that the man as had “suspected COVID-19” and that the ceremony had taken place in full PPE. The publication offered to remove the article or amend it with a footnote.
Relevant Clause 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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. The complaint was resolved between the parties.
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: 24/04/2020
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 13/07/2020Back to ruling listing