Resolution Statement – 09050-21 Highy v The Reading Chronicle
Summary of Complaint
1. Philip Highy complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Reading Chronicle breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Birthday honours for Berks residents”, published on 17th June 2021.
2. The article reported on the Queen’s birthday honours, celebrating the success of individuals from Berkshire. It stated that “[o]f those from the Royal county OBEs have been given to people for services in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, decarbonising air travel, supporting disabled people and more”. It went on to include a full list of everyone from Berkshire who was honoured, reporting that Lynne and Philip Highy had both received awards.
3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. He said that he and Lynne Highy had been awarded British Empire Medals, and that the article had inaccurately stated they had been awarded OBEs.
4. The publication accepted that it had, due to human error, incorrectly included Lynne and Philip Highy on the list of individuals who had been awarded OBEs. Whilst the publication accepted that it had inaccurately reported the awards Lynne and Philip Highy received, it did not accept that this rendered the article wholly misleading.
Relevant Code Provisions
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.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to print the following correction:
On June 17, 2021, The Reading Chronicle published an article containing the names of a number of people who received an honour for the Queen’s birthday. A mistake was made in this article and both Philip and Lynne Highy were listed as having received OBEs. This was inaccurate as both Mr and Mrs Highy received British Empire Medals. Although this article was soon corrected at the time of publication, we are happy to issue a further clarification. We apologise to Mr and Mrs Highy for any confusion and upset this article may have caused.
7. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
8. 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: 04/08/21
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 11/10/21Back to ruling listing