Resolution Statement 06690-18 Murray v Daily Mirror
Summary of Complaint
1. Steve Murray complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mirror breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Accent study 'blew £34k'” published on 9 September 2018.
2. The article reported the outcome of a grant given to a college. It said that students had investigated the Portsmouth accent for 10 months but “…found nothing”.
3. The complainant said that the article gave the misleading impression that the study was an empirical academic research project aimed at finding the source of the Pompey accent, and in not doing so, the project had failed and had wasted its funding. He said that this was a school project, and it never aimed to find the source of the Pompey accent- the project’s consequent cultural activities meant that it fulfilled all of its aims and official Approved Purposes, and the money had been spent appropriately.
4. The newspaper said that the article was based on the college’s own statements which said that the grant had been awarded to “…support students to research the history of Portsmouth’s accent” and that three of the six Approved Purposes made reference to the Pompey accent. The newspaper also pointed to the complainant’s own statement which said that “The project hasn’t really unearthed anything to explain the origins of the accent.” For all of these reasons, the newspaper did not accept that the article presented the misleading impression as suggested by the complainant.
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.
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.
v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.
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 newspaper offered to publish the following clarification in their Corrections and Clarifications column on page 2:
“Our article 'Accent study blew £34k' on 9 October 2018 reported that Havant and South Downs College 'found nothing' after receiving a £34,000 Lottery grant for research into the Portsmouth accent. Although the college's press release suggested this, we are happy to clarify that the grant was not to solely investigate the accent, but was also to help fund students to research into the local history.”
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his 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: 11/10/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 08/11/2018Back to ruling listing