Resolution Statement 14232-16 Connelly v Daily Record
1. Rosemary Connelly complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Record breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in relation to an article headlined “Margaret Fleming mystery: Close pal of carer couple says she never met missing woman at their house”, published on 14 December 2016.
2. The article reported that Margaret Fleming had been reported missing by her carers, Avril Jones and Edward Cairney; however, there had been no “independent sightings” of her since 1999 and the police were concerned that she may have come to harm. The article reported that Ms Jones and Mr Cairney had been her carers since 1997, and that the complainant had been a close friend of the couple for more than thirty years, and had often visited their home and had gone on holidays with them. It reported that the complainant had only heard the couple speak of Ms Fleming once, and had never seen her on any visits to the couple’s home.
3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate as it did not make clear that she had not been to the couple’s home for more than twenty years, and gave the misleading impression that she had visited the couple’s home while Margaret Fleming had lived with them. The complainant was also concerned that her photograph had been published, and that her name had been included in the article, as the journalist had assured her that her name would not be published.
4. The publication accepted that it had not made clear that the complainant had visited the couple’s home more than 20 years ago, and she had not been to the couple’s home when Ms Fleming was living with there. The newspaper said it was not their intention to cause the complainant any distress and they apologised for any upset caused by the article. It said that the complainant had initially expressed concern about being named in the article; however she did not make it a condition of the interview, and did not raise the issue again. The newspaper also said that the photograph had come from the complainant’s Facebook profile, which was open to the public at the time of publication.
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.
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 2 (Privacy)
i. Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communication.
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.
6. The complaint
was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO
therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s
intervention, the publication and the complainant agreed terms by which the
matter could be resolved.
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: 16/12/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/05/2017
Back to ruling listing