Resolution Statement – 05648-20 Clarke v express.co.uk

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement – 05648-20 Clarke v express.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Stefan Clarke complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that express.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined “Tipping Point fans hit out at player's 'frustrating' habit: 'Answer the f****** question!'” published on 5 May 2020.

2. The article reported on an episode of the TV game show, Tipping Point, in which the complainant took part. It stated that the complainant “took his time to answer every single question and if he couldn’t answer one was quick to pass it to his fellow players”. The article also contained the comments of some Twitter users reacting to the episode.

3. The complainant said that it was inaccurate state that “took his time to answer every single question” as he said he had not taken any longer than other contestants. He also said it was inaccurate to claim that “if he couldn’t answer one was quick to pass it to his fellow players” as he had said he had not passed any questions to other players. He also said that the article breached Clauses 2, 3 and 12 as it was negative and led to abuse from other members of the public on social media.

4. The publication did not accept it had breached the Code. It stated that it simply reported on viewers’ reactions to the show and that the points complained of under Clause 1 were not significant. It said that it had not intended to cause to complainant distress.

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 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. 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

7. Clause 3 (Harassment)

i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.

iii)  Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.

8. Clause 12 (Discrimination)

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Mediated Outcome

9. The complaint was not resolved during the referral period. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

10. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered, as a gesture of goodwill, to remove the online article and send the complainant a private letter of apology.

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

12. 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: 5/5/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 23/6/2020 

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