Resolution Statement 03448-19 A man v Daily Mail

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement 03448-19 A man v Daily Mail

Summary of Complaint 

1.    A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “The FA bans sneaky England football fan who gained access to the behind-closed-doors match with Croatia” published on 22 October 2018. 

2.    The article reported that an unnamed England football fan had gained access to a closed football match in Croatia, and as a result, had been suspended by the FA’s official England Supporters Travel Club. It said that the man had posted a photograph of himself at the match on social media, and said that he appeared to have a media accreditation pass and an England shirt. The article included several stock images of the match, one of which showed unnamed English football fans relaxing in Croatia. 

3.    The complainant was the fan who had gained access to the match, and said that the article contained a number of inaccuracies. He said that he wasn’t “banned” by the FA – he was merely suspended pending appeal, which was successful. He also said that he was not wearing an England shirt or have a media pass when he gained entry to the media zone. He also said that the article breached Clause 2, as although he was not named in the article, the stock image of the English fans in Croatia in fact was one of him and his friends. 

4.    The publication said that it was not in dispute that the complainant had gained access to a match that he was not supposed to attend – these inaccuracies alleged by the complainant were not significant to the overall story. The publication said that it was not inaccurate to say that the complainant had been “banned” – at the time of publication the complainant had been suspended by the FA. It said that the reference to the complainant “apparently” having a media pass and wearing an England shirt was based both on the reporter’s recollection, and the fact that the complainant had managed to gain entry to the media area, and so it was probable that he had obtained a media pass. 

5.    The publication said that the photograph was a stock image showing fans in Croatia for the match – it was selected by a person who had no knowledge that it showed the complainant, and so it was a coincidence that it appeared in an article in which he was the subject. Nevertheless, it said that if he had somehow been identified from this photo, it simply showed him and his friends in a public place and did not reveal anything private about him.  

Relevant Code Provisions 

6.    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.

Clause 2 (Privacy)* 

i)               Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications. 

ii)             Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. In considering an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information and the extent to which the material complained about is already in the public domain or will become so. 

iii)            It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Mediated Outcome 

7.    The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter. 

8.    During IPSO’s investigation, as a gesture of goodwill, the publication to remove the photograph which showed the complainant, and to amend the article on the points raised by the complainant. In addition, it offered to publish the following wording as a footnote: 

“An article on October 22 about the FA banning a football fan who had gained access to a behind-closed-doors match in Croatia said he was wearing an England shirt, and had apparently got in with a media pass. In fact, he was not wearing an England shirt, and we are happy to put on record his position that he did not gain entry with a media pass.” 

9.    The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction. 

10. 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: 23/04/2019

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/06/2019

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