Decision of the Complaints Committee – 02972-20 Various v The Daily Express
Summary of Complaint
1. The Independent Press Standards Organisation received various complaints that The Daily Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “PATEL WARNS SELFISH RULE BREAKERS”, published on 24 April 2020.
2. The article appeared on the front page. It reported that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, planned to “make an urgent call for Britons to stick to social-distancing measures” amid alarm that growing numbers of people were “flouting government rules” on social distancing. The article contained a prominent picture of Brighton’s promenade which showed large crowds enjoying the sun.
3. IPSO received 22 complaints about this article. Complainants said that the article was inaccurate as the picture of Brighton’s promenade was not contemporaneous. Rather, they said it had been taken last summer, which was evidenced by the fact that some cranes appearing in the picture had since been removed.
4. The publication did not accept that the article breached the Code. It provided the metadata for the picture, which showed that the photo had been taken on 23 April 2020, a day before publication. The publication also provided a Twitter post by a member of the public in which they apologised for initially alleging that the article was inaccurate. This person had since stood from where the photograph was taken from and confirmed that the same cranes that had appeared in the photo were present.
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 correction, promptly and with due prominence, and –where appropriate- an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
Findings of the Committee
6. The metadata provided by the publication demonstrated that the photo was contemporaneous and did in fact illustrate Brighton promenade during the period of lockdown. There was no breach of Clause 1.
7. These complaints were not upheld.
Remedial Action Required
Date complaint received: 30/04/2020
Date decision issued: 05/06/2020Back to ruling listing