Resolution Statement 09907-16 Trump International Golf Links Scotland v thesun.co.uk
Summary of complaint
1. Trump International Golf Links Scotland complained to the Independent Press Stand-ards Organisation that thesun.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Edi-tors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “’You’ve been trumped’: Scots gran, 92, ‘forced to get water with wheelbarrow’ in dispute over Donald Trump golf course”, published on 26 October 2016.
2. The complainant expressed concern that the article had given the significantly mis-leading impression that Trump International Golf Links Scotland had been respon-sible for poisoning the water of a 92-year-old woman, and had cut off her water supply in an effort to drive her from her home. It said the claims made by the wom-an were untrue, and it had not been given the opportunity to comment before they were published. While it accepted that a pipe had been damaged during the con-struction of the golf course, it had been fixed. When the woman experienced further issues with her water supply – which it said had not been caused by its actions – it had offered to connect her to its water supply as a gesture of good-will, but she had declined the offer.
3. The newspaper said that the article had been based on a television documentary and an article published by another online publication. It said that a pipe on the complainant’s property had been severed during the construction of the golf course, which had resulted in the woman’s water supply being cut off, and three years on, she was still collecting water in a wheelbarrow. It did not consider that the article had suggested that the complainant had in-structed its workers to cut off the water supply. While it did not accept a breach of the Code, it removed the article from its website.
Relevant Code provisions
4. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted infor-mation 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 pub-lished. In cases in-volving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regu-lator.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. The newspaper offered to publish the following wording on its website:
We published an article “You’ve Been Trumped: Scots Gran, 92, ‘forced to get water with a wheelbarrow’ in dispute over Donald Trump’s golf course” on 26th October 2016 which fol-lowed a report online elsewhere. Trump International Golf Links Scot-land (“Trump Interna-tional”) has since assured us the headline and related article are incorrect in various respects. Trump International states that: the water supply pipe concerned runs under land owned by Trump International, to a well; that supply pipe was not shown on plans and was inadvertent-ly breached by contractors in 2010; the contractors repaired the pipe immediately; further work took place around the well in 2014 and 2015; this work was neither instructed by nor approved by Trump International and was not carried out by Trump International contractors. While the supply of water to neighbouring properties is not the responsibility of Trump Inter-national, it offered in November 2015 to connect the relevant properties to its mains network and this offer has never been taken up by the Forbes family. We are happy to make this clear.
7. The complainant said the publication of the correction would resolve the matter to its 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: 28/10/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 26/01/2017
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