Resolution statement 16688-17 Martin Phillips v The Sunday Times
Summary of complaint
1. Martin Phillips complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sunday Times breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Living room overpowers kitchen to become new energy hub of the home”, published on 11 June 2017.
2. The article reported on the trend in energy consumption within Britain, and compared the energy use of devices located in kitchens and living rooms in the average household.
3. The complainant said that the article reported inaccurate figures for costs and power consumption of the household items.
4. The newspaper said that the figures had been provided by a PR agency acting for British Gas, however it accepted that it had been provided with the incorrect figures. The newspaper apologised for the error and published an apology in print on page 20, which directed readers to the correct figures which it had published online. It also removed the original online article.
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.
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 newspaper published the correct figures and an apology in print.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his 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 complaint received: 06/07/2017
Date complaint concluded: 08/08/2017
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