Complaint 14289-16 Gillespie v Macclesfield Express
Summary of complaint
1. Helen Gillespie complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) that the Macclesfield Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Youngsters get ready as Santa stops on the Moss”, published on 16 November 2016.
2. The article reported that Santa would be handing out presents to boys and girls on the Moss estate. It quoted the complainant, one of the event’s organisers, as saying: “Santa will be returning to the Moss estate this year for the fourth time. We don’t collect any money or ask for donations. Each child gets a small present to keep them going until Christmas Day”.
The complainant said that while she did contact the newspaper about the event, she did not provide them with any quotation.
The newspaper said it had re-used the complainant’s quote from an article written about the same event the previous year. It said that the article was a positive one, and was written at the request of the complainant; it said that there was no malice intended on the newspaper’s part.
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. The newspaper offered to send a private letter of apology to the complainant, and to publish the following clarification in the newspaper:
The quotation from Helen Gillespie published on 16 November 2016 in an article headlined: "Youngsters get ready as Santa stops on the Moss" was in fact an updated version of a quotation given to the newspaper in 2015.
8. The complainant said these actions resolved the matter to her satisfaction.
9. 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 complained received: 21/12/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 08/02/2017
Back to ruling listing