Resolution Statement 06822-17 Holehouse v thesun.co.uk
1. Anthony Holehouse complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thesun.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in the following articles:
2. The articles reported that the complainant had been one of five men staying in a holiday apartment when a woman fell from the balcony and died.
3. The complainant said that reporting that he had been in the apartment at time of the woman’s death had intruded into his private life and into his grief following the tragedy. He also said that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that he had been taking drugs when the woman died.
4. The newspaper
did not accept any breach of the Code. It said that the woman’s death had been
a terrible and tragic occurrence, but it was a matter of fact that the
complainant had been one of the men in the apartment when she died. It said
that one of the men had said in a statement that they had been taking cocaine
the evening of the woman’s death.
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. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.
iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)
In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.
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 of the complaint, the newspaper offered to remove the complainant’s photograph from the stories and put a warning on its system about using it in future. It also deleted the reference to his taking cocaine.
8. The complainant
said that the newspaper’s offer 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: 6 May 2017
Date complaint concluded: 23 August 2017
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