Resolution Statement 08194-19 Osinyemi v Croydon Guardian
Summary of Complaint
1. Abi Osinyemi complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Croydon Guardian breached Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “'We see people begging for food and crack getting taken in the streets'”, published on 18 October 2019.
2. The article reported on people who lived in an area that had been found in a recent study to be one of the most deprived in London. In addition to the inclusion of statistics about the area, there was a selection of quotes from people who lived and worked in the area about their experiences.
3. The complainant was one of the people quoted and named in the article, and said that the publication had breached Clause 10. He said that the reporter had introduced herself by saying that “the Council wanted to hear people’s thoughts and experiences because they wanted to take steps to improve the area”. He said he had no reason to believe she was a reporter, and spoke to her solely on the basis that he believed she worked for the Council. He said that he would not have spoken to the reporter had he known she was a reporter, and would not have consented for his conversation to be recorded or published if this was the case. He got in touch directly with the reporter after realising it had been published and asked for his quotes to be removed.
4. The publication said it did not accept that it had breached Clause 10. It said that it had received the story from a reliable syndicate. After the reporter got in contact with the publication it removed the complainant’s name, but it left the quotes in the article.
Relevant Clause Provisions
5. Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge)*
i) The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held information without consent.
ii) Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. The publication offered to delete the full quote that had been supplied by the complainant.
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: 19/10/2019
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 10/12/2019