Resolution Statement 06660-18 Rix v Southern Daily Echo
Summary of complaint
1. Simone Rix complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Southern Daily Echo breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) and Clause 14 (Confidential sources) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined: “PHOTOS: Large vehicle carrier gets stuck on Millbrook Roundabout after 'not following diversion'” published on 5 October 2018.
2. The article reported on a large vehicle carrier which had become stuck after reportedly failing to follow a diversion. The article reported a statement from a spokesperson of a company which had provided assistance to the vehicle during transportation: “It [the lorry] got stuck because the transport company routed it that way. We were following the truck. We have been told it will be moved at 8pm tonight.”
3. The complainant, who was the individual quoted in the article, said that she had received a telephone call from someone who had claimed they were from the local dockyard; it was only after reading the article under complaint did she realise that she had spoken to a journalist. The complainant said that she had been misled and misquoted; she had made clear that the vehicle was not stuck, and would be moved later in the day.
4. The publication did not accept that there had been any breach of the Editors’ Code, and denied that any of its reporters would deliberately mislead anyone in pursuit of a story. The publication said that the journalist had taken care to retain a shorthand note of the complainant’s comments, which were reported accurately in the article.
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.
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.
Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge)
i) The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held information without consent.
ii) Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.
14. Confidential sources
Journalists have a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information.
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 comment which was the subject of complaint, as a gesture of goodwill.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the complaint 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: 08/10/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/10/2018
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