Resolution Statement 13019-17 Holehouse v Daily Mail
Summary of complaint
1. Anthony Holehouse complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “So why did Kirsty fall 100ft to her death at 8am?”, published on 13 May 2017.
2. The article reported that the complainant had been one of five men staying in a holiday apartment when a woman fell from the balcony and died.
3. The complainant said that reporting that he had been in the apartment at the time of the woman’s death had intruded into his private life and into his grief following the tragedy. He also said that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that he had been taking drugs when the woman died.
4. The newspaper did not accept any breach of the Code. While it said that it appreciated that the sudden tragedy may have had an unpleasant impact on the complainant, this was an important news event, involving the police, and the complainant was a witness. Furthermore, the article had not reported that the complainant had been taking drugs when the woman died. In light of the complainant’s concerns, however, it offered to amend the online article to state that “some” of the men had been taking cocaine, and it offered to append the following note:
Mr Anthony Holehouse, one of the ‘Benidorm 5’ men referred to in the article, has contacted us to say that he had not taken cocaine in the apartment.
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.
Clause 2 (Privacy)
i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.
iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. During IPSO’s investigation of the complaint, the newspaper offered to amend the online article to make clear that only one of the men in the apartment had taken cocaine.
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: 06/05/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 09/08/2017
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