Resolution Statement – 06575-20 Brown v thesun.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Kerry Brown complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thesun.co.uk breached Clause1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined "BREAKING FREE Brits hit parks and beaches in first weekend since lockdown eased – as cops do spot checks”, published on 16 May 2020.
2. The article reported that millions of people had visited beauty spots and holiday destinations following the easing of Coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The article featured a video of people walking on, and near to, Weymouth Beach.
3. A similar version of the video shot from different angle was also published on the publication’s YouTube channel.
4. The complainant said that the article was misleading as the video was taken around six years ago and not recently as reported. She said that her daughter was featured in the video walking out of the sea with her friend; the complainant said that the only time they had spent time together at this location was six years ago. The complainant said that the seafront had changed in this time and produced annotated photographs of the scenery and how the area had changed in order to support her position.
5. The publication denied any breach of the code and it produced a screenshot of the video’s Metadata which it said demonstrated that it was taken 16 May 2020. The publication also provided images from Google Streetview which it said proved that the developments from the video were consistent with those featured in the footage.
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.
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, the publication offered to remove the article from its website and the video from its YouTube channel as means to resolve the matter.
9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her 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: 18/05/2020
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 03/08/2020Back to ruling listing