Resolution Statement 04853-19 A man v Liverpool Echo
Summary of complaint
1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Liverpool Echo breached Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “My son is really ill...and they made me feel like no-one cares” published on 14 June 2019.
2. The article reported on a woman’s experience visiting her son in hospital, losing her hospital parking ticket and then being charged full price for parking. The article included a quote from her which referred to her son’s medical condition.
3. The article also appeared online with the headline “Mum left in tears when Q Park staff ‘locked her in’ after visiting seriously ill son in hospital”. It was substantially the same as the print version.
4. The complainant, the woman’s son referenced in the article, said that publishing this information about his health represented an intrusion into his privacy. He said that he had not consented to this medical information being published, and had made an effort to keep matters relating to his health private. He said that by naming his mother, people had been able to identify him, and he had been contacted by people who were unaware of his circumstances.
5. The publication apologised for any distress caused by the article, which it said was not its intention. It said that it specifically left out the complainant’s name, under the belief that the article then would not identify him to anyone who didn’t already know him. When the publication was initially contacted by the complainant, it removed the reference to him from the article.
Relevant Code provisions
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. During the course of IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered to fully remove the online version of the article, and to send the complainant a private letter of apology.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
9. 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: 19/06/2019
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/07/2019
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