Resolution Statement 07051-18 Kelly v Sunday World
Summary of complaint
1. Aileen Kelly complained on behalf of LCC Group Limited, trading as Go, to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sunday World breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) in an article headlined “TANKS FOR NOTHING”, published on 30 September 2018.
2. The article
reported that a number of petrol stations in Belfast had experienced issues
with people allegedly tampering with the fuel stored underneath the stations’
forecourt, which the article claimed were unsecured. The article included
several quotes from motorists who had been affected.
3. The complainant is a representative of one of the petrol stations named in the article. She said that her business had never been the victim of fuel saboteurs, it did not have any knowledge of the alleged incidents ever occurring, and it took care to secure the fuel supplies. It said that the publication did not contact it prior to publication.
4. The publication said that the article was based on claims made by members of the public. It said that it tried to contact the complainant prior to publication, but was unable to locate any appropriate contact details. The publication said that there was no intention to cause distress, only to highlight the issues allegedly experienced by the motorists.
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.
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 print the following clarification:
Our article “Tanks for nothing!” published on 30 September reported that the fuel tanks at GO filling station at the Citygate shopping complex on York Street are vulnerable to fuel saboteur’s and are easily tampered with. This was not correct. We have had it confirmed that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to contaminate Go tanks as their fuel is accessed via a secure locked building. We would also like to clarify that no complaints were made to Go Power at that time.
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: 25/10/2018
Date complaint concluded: 08/02/2019
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