Complaint 08815-16 A woman v Gloucester Citizen
Summary of complaint
1. A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Gloucester Citizen breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 5 (Reporting of suicide) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article published on 28 September 2016.
2. The article reported on the death of a family member of the complainant.
3. The complainant said that the article included a photograph of someone other than her family member.
4. While the publication said that it was within its rights to publish a report on the inquest proceedings, it accepted that the article included a photograph of the wrong person.
Relevant Code provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.
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 5 (Reporting Suicide)
When reporting suicide, to prevent simulative acts care should be taken to avoid excessive detail of the method used, while taking into account the media's right to report legal proceedings.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following further correspondence, the publication offered to remove the article from its website; make efforts to contact third party websites that had republished the articles to have these removed; remove all photographs from its internal database; write the complainant a letter of apology; and agreed not to republish the article. In addition it also agreed to make a donation to a charity of the complainant’s choice, and to circulate internal guidance emphasising the importance of handling such matters sensitively.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve 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: 30/09/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 22/12/2016
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