Resolution Statement 07620-17 Watkins v Daily Mail
1. Rob Watkins complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in relation to an article headlined “Corbyn’s fantasy land”, published on 12 May 2017.
2. The sub-headline
of the article reported that the Labour Party manifesto launched before the
2017 General Election would “cost every family £4,000”. The article stated that
the pledges made in the manifesto would cost £93 billion pounds a year to
implement, and reported that, based on the figures provided by the Labour
party, this would cost families an average of £4,000 each.
3. The complainant said that the article had accurately reported that
figures released by the Labour Party suggested there would be, on average
£4,000 per household of additional spending, but said the sub-headline
misleadingly suggested this was a fixed cost for every household would have to pay if the Labour Party won the election.
4. The newspaper
did not accept that it had breached the Editors’ Code. The newspaper said this
was a customary way of presenting financial information, used to present
financial information in a way that was readily accessible for readers. The
newspaper said that the sub-headline was to be read in conjunction with the
article, which made clear that the £4,000 was a household average.
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. Following IPSO’s
intervention, the publication offered to publish the following correction in
its clarifications and corrections column on page 2 and in the news page of
Mail Online for 24 hours before archiving it in the usual way:
The headline to an article on 12 May, based on a leaked
draft of the Labour party’s election manifesto, said that Labour's 'class war
manifesto would cost every family £4,000’. We are happy to clarify that, as the
article stated, the £4,000 was an average figure and did not represent an
estimate of the amount Labour was planning to raise in taxes from each family.
8. The complainant said that this resolved 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: 12/05/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 01/09/2017
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