Resolution Statement 06634-18 Fiona Thomson- Tur v The Oxford Times
Summary of complaint
1. Fiona Thomson-Tur complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Oxford Times breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Scuba Horror: Dream holiday becomes a nightmare as man drowns while diving,” published on 4 October 2018.
2. The article was a report of an inquest into the death of the complainant’s husband. It reported that he had died while diving in the Seychelles. It said that he had got into difficulties when his new mask “sprang a leak”, and had joked to his wife that he had experienced a similar problem on a previous holiday. The article reported that the complainant had seen her husband “thrashing about and realised he was in serious trouble” and said that he had been found floating face up in the water.
3. The complainant said that the article was an inaccurate account of what had been said at the inquest. She said that her husband had been snorkelling, not diving, and that the leak in his mask had not happened before, and was not linked to his death. She also said she had not been aware of her husband struggling in the water, and said that he had been floating face down.
4. The publication said that the article had been provided by a reputable news agency. It accepted that the reference in the headline to scuba diving was inaccurate, and changed this as soon as it received the complaint. It said that the rest of the article was an accurate report of what had been heard at the inquest.
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties, IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered to remove the article.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.
9. 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: 07/10/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 21/12/2018
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