Resolution Statement – 06584-20 Fair Play for Women v The Times
Summary of Complaint
1. Fair Play for Women complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Times breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Seven sex attacks in women's jails by transgender inmates”, published on 11 May 2020.
2. The article reported on the rate of sexual assaults committed by transgender prisoners in UK prisons. The article quoted several statistics such as that “Women’s prisons had 34 transgender inmates in April 2018, 30 of whom were born female” and that there were “last year found that a third of prisons in England and Wales said they had at least one transgender inmate, with a total of 139 prisoners presenting in a different gender to their birth. Of these, 114 said they were female”.
3. The article also appeared online in substantially the same format.
4. The complainant, a campaigning group quoted in the article, said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 because the figures quoted were incorrect. It said that the correct figures were that in April 2018 there were 42 transgender inmates and she said it would be more accurate to report that in April 2019 there were 34 transgender inmates and 11 of whom identified as female. It also said that the second set of figures should report that in 2019 it was found that half of prisons in England and Wales said they had at least one transgender inmate, with a total of 163 prisoners presenting in a different gender to their birth. Of these, 130 said they identified as female.
5. The publication did not accept that there was a breach of Clause 1.
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. The publication offered to make the amends to the article as suggested by the complainant.
9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to its 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: 08/06/2020Back to ruling listing