Complaint 14082-16 Millband v Daily Mail
Summary of complaint
1. Jacqueline Millband complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Children of RAF personnel march to Russian embassy to protest against Vladimir Putin’s ‘war crimes’ in Aleppo”, published on 24 October 2016.
2. The complainant expressed concern that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that children, including her daughter, had marched to the Russian Embassy in protest against Russia’s military action in Syria. In fact, the children had been to the Russian Embassy to promote a charity single they had recorded. She also said that the children had not visited or marched to the Syrian Embassy, as reported. In addition, she expressed concern that by publishing the full names of the children, their safety had been put at risk.
3. The newspaper said that it had reported information supplied by a charity fundraiser and campaigner who had said that he was representing the children. It was clear that he had discussed the children’s visit to London with their parents and had obtained their consent for them to be named and photographed for the article. It said that the charity fundraiser had said that the single had been recorded to persuade world leaders to stop their indiscriminate bombing in Aleppo, and it had reported the information in good faith. To resolve the complaint, the newspaper offered to remove the name of the complainant’s daughter and the references to the children “marching” to the Russian and Syrian Embassies from the article.
Relevant Code provisions
4. 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.
Clause 6 (Children)
i) All pupils should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.
ii) They must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities.
iii) Children under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.
iv) Children under 16 must not be paid for material involving their welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.
v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child's private life.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. The newspaper removed the name of the complainant’s daughter from the article, and took steps to have the article removed from other websites that had published the story.
7. The complainant said that the newspaper’s offer would resolve the matter to her 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: 12/12/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 14/02/2017
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