Resolution Statement 07329-18 Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment v News Letter (Belfast)
Summary of Complaint
1. Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that News Letter (Belfast) breached Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Singer Sands loses nursing home battle” published on 13 October 2018.
2. The article reported that the Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment group had lost its legal challenge against the building of a development site. It said that “The Group fears construction work and an increase in traffic will put the forest’s ancient oak trees at risk”.
3. The article also appeared in the same form online with the headline “Folk singer Colum Sands loses legal challenge to nursing home plans”, published on 12 October 2018.
4. The complainant said that the group did not claim at any point that they were concerned about the development solely because they feared that increased traffic would put ancient oak trees at risk. It said that there were many reasons why they were opposed to the development, and this statement gave a misleading impression of their views.
5. The complainant contacted the newspaper at the time of publication but this was not acknowledged. IPSO therefore began an investigation.
Relevant Code Provisions
6. 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.
7. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
8. During IPSO’s investigation, the newspaper offered to remove the online article as a gesture of goodwill.
9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to their satisfaction.
10. 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: 12/11/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 23/11/2018Back to ruling listing