Resolution Statement: Complaint 05059-15 Wallis-Keyworth v The Star (Sheffield)

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement: Complaint 05059-15 Wallis-Keyworth v The Star (Sheffield) 

Summary of complaint

1. Martin Wallis-Keyworth complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sheffield Star breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “£10,000 on offer to take an empty shop”. 

2. The article reported that under a Sheffield City Council scheme designed to promote start-up businesses, entrepreneurs were being offered money to take up empty shops in the city. It reported that the complainant’s shop was taking part in the scheme. 

3. The complainant denied that his shop was part of the scheme. He was also concerned that it inaccurately suggested he had received a financial grant. 

4. The newspaper said that the information about the complainant published in the article had been taken in good faith from a Sheffield City Council press release. It accepted that when read in the context of the article as a whole, the article’s reference to the complainant and his shop may have suggested he had received a grant under the scheme. 

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance. 

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact. 

Mediated outcome

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

7. After further correspondence, the newspaper offered to publish the following correction in its “Business” section in print, and in the same section online: 

A recent Star article about a Sheffield City Council scheme offering up to £10,000 to people to take on empty shops in the city centre inferred that Martin Wallis-Keyworth, of Truth or Dare tattoo parlour was a beneficiary of the Re:New scheme. Mr Wallis-Keyworth was cited in a council press release only as an example of a business that had taken an empty shop. He is keen to make clear that he did not receive financial assistance from the scheme. 

8. The complainant said that this would be a satisfactory resolution to his complaint. 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: 17/08/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 29/10/2015

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