Resolution Statement 07518-17 Adamowicz v Wigan Today
1. Barbara Adamowicz complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Wigan Today breached Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Firm fined £2M over dad's death”, published on 4 May 2017.
2. The article reported that a Wigan food firm had been fined after one of its employees, the complainant’s husband, had died whilst at work. The article contained a photograph of the complainant, her husband and their young son.
3. The complainant said that the publication of this photograph, without her consent, had represented an intrusion into her privacy as well as her grief.
4. The newspaper expressed its condolences for the complainant and her family at this difficult time. It said that it had obtained the photograph from an individual who had approached the newspaper, purporting to be a friend of the family, and had published it in good faith.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. 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 intrusion into any individual’s private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant’s own public disclosures of information.
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.
Clause 6 * (Children)
i) All pupils should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.
ii) They must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities.
iii) Children under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.
iv) Children under 16 must not be paid for material involving their welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the publication offered to write a private letter of apology and gave an assurance that it would not use the photograph in the future.
8. The complainant said that this resolved 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: 13/05/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 26/07/2017
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