Decision of the
Complaints Committee 06367-18 Shieldhill Youth
Defenders Flute Band v Evening Times
Summary of Complaint
1. Shieldhill Young Defenders Flute Band complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Evening Times breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Out of order: Anger over priest attack. Attack on city priest is condemned” published on 10 July 2018.
2. The article, which was trailed on the front page, reported on a recent Orange Walk in Glasgow. It reported that there had been “widespread condemnation” following an alleged attack on a Catholic priest at the event. The article continued on page 6 and 7, and included a photograph of a march, in which the band and a drum carrying its name could be seen. The photograph was captioned, “The Orange Walk has been taking place in Glasgow on Saturday when the incident took place.”
3. The article was also published online, with the headline “Pressure grows on Orange Order following attack on priest”. The online article was substantially the same as the article that appeared in print.
4. The complainant said that the use of its photograph in the article was misleading. It said that the band had not been present at the event referred to in the article, and that the photograph used was from the same event the year before. It said that its inclusion in the article suggested that it had been involved in the alleged attack on a priest, which was a damaging and untrue allegation that had caused reputational damage to the band.
5. The newspaper said that the photograph had been taken at the same event in 2017. It said that it was used to illustrate the event reported on in the article, however it accepted that the caption did not make it sufficiently clear that the photograph depicted a previous march. Regardless, it did not accept that the inclusion of the photograph gave the impression that the complainant had any connection to the alleged attack. It said the photograph was clearly illustrative, and the article did not make any suggestion about who had been responsible for the attack.
6. The newspaper said it had removed the photograph from the online article shortly after it had been published, after receiving a separate complaint. On receipt of this complaint, it offered to publish the following wording on page two and as a footnote to the online article:
In our edition of Tuesday 10 July we published an image of Shieldhill Young Defenders Flute Band alongside a story relating to an Orange Walk and an alleged attack on a city priest. The picture was taken from our archine covering a previous walk and we did not make that clear in our caption. SYD FB were not involved in the July event and were indeed engaged in another event elsewhere in Scotland. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence caused.
Relevant Code Provisions
7. 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.
Findings of the Committee
8. It was accepted that the article had not made clear that the photograph showed another march from a previous year. This represented a failure to take care not to publish misleading information, in breach of Clause 1(i). The inclusion of this photograph did not suggest that the complainant had any connection to the alleged attack. However, it did give the impression that the complainant had been in attendance at a march that had been widely criticised. This was significantly misleading and required correction to avoid a breach of Clause 1 (ii).
9. The newspaper had offered to publish a correction and apology, on page two of the print edition and as a footnote to the amended online article. This correction identified the inaccuracy and made the correct position clear. It was sufficiently prominent and prompt to meet the terms of Clause 1(ii).
10. The complaint was upheld.
Remedial Action Required
11. Having upheld the complaint, the Committee considered what remedial action should be required.
12. The newspaper had promptly offered to publish a correction in print and online. This was sufficient to meet the terms of Clause 1 (ii) and should now be published.
Date complaint received: 25/09/2018
Date decision issued: 20/12/2018
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