Resolution Statement 06733-18 Bishop v Bucks Free Press
Summary of Complaint
1. Robert Bishop complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Bucks Free Press breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “County council officials blasted for 'wasting taxpayers' money'”, published on 31 August 2018.
2. The article reported on the installation of council signs in High Wycombe which erroneously pointed to the town’s “non-existent” Chair Making Museum. The article went on to include quotes from people upset with the purchase of the inaccurate signs, saying that “…there was never a chair making museum” and that “…there isn’t even a chair making museum.”
3. The complainant is the proprietor of the Chair Making Museum in High Wycombe. He said that although the Council signs did not point to the museum, there is still a Chair Making Museum in operation in the town; as such the article was inaccurate and misleading to report that that it was “non-existent” and to publish quotes to that effect. The complainant was very concerned that this inaccuracy would have a significantly adverse effect on his museum.
4. The newspaper did not accept that the article created the misleading impression suggested by the complainant. It said that it was clear from the article’s context that it was referring to the fact that the signs pointed to a Chair Making Museum which did not exist in that location.
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 run a follow up article advertising the Chair Making Museum, and to publish the following clarification in their stand alone supplement advertising local businesses:
“In August 2018, we published an article which referred to comments made about a supposedly non-existent chair-making museum in High Wycombe.
We would like to clarify that in June 2016 Mr and Mrs Bishop following consultation with Wycombe District Council took ownership and opened the High Wycombe Chair Making Museum at their premises ~ Kraft Village, Grafton Street, High Wycombe HP12 3AJ.
We apologise if this caused any confusion.
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: 12/10/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 06/11/2018