Resolution Statement 07146-18 Dewey v Metro.co.uk
Summary of complaint
1. Jack Dewey complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Metro.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Paramedic drilled into drunk’s bone without anaesthesia to ‘teach him a lesson’” published on 30 October 2018.
2. The article was a report of an incident which took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was illustrated with a stock image of a British ambulance.
3. The complainant said that the use of this image gave the misleading impression that the incident had occurred in the UK, and this was compounded by the fact that any reference to the US was only included half way down the article.
4. The publication said that there was no intention to offend or mislead, but apologised for any confusion that may have arisen. It replaced the image with one of an American ambulance.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. Clause 1
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 amend the first sentence of the article to make clear that the story was referring to an American paramedic. It also published the following clarification in its online Corrections and Clarifications column:
“An article published on 30 October 2018, on a paramedic who drilled into a drunk’s bone without anaesthesia, inadvertently used a stock photograph of a British ambulance.
We are happy to clarify that that this has since been replaced by a photo of a US ambulance to better reflect the content.”
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: 31/10/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 11/01/2019
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