Resolution Statement 17445-17 Dorrington vs Milton Keynes Citizen

Decision: Resolved - IPSO mediation

Resolution Statement 17445-17 Dorrington vs Milton Keynes Citizen

Summary of Complaint

1. Darren Dorrington complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Milton Keynes Citizen breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Radio boss defends his suspended cop friend”, published on 6 July 2017.

2. The article reported that a local police superintendent had been invited to attend a community event at a mosque, while he was suspended from service. Following this, it said that the local radio station had reported that the police chief was facing a gross misconduct charge for his attendance at the event and had asked if the police were conducting a “witch hunt” against him.

3. The article also reported that the complainant, who is the managing director of the radio station, had “consistently defended” the suspended police chief.

4. The complainant denied that he had personally defended the suspended police superintendent, consistently or otherwise. He also said that neither he nor the radio station had asked whether the police were conducting a “witch hunt”: this was a question which had been asked by a member of the mosque and which had been featured in an article published by the radio station, which had reported on the community event.

5. The newspaper said that the complainant had promoted and defended the suspended police chief through the radio station, as a consequence of his senior position within it. It said that because the article published by the radio station had not identified the member of the mosque who had made the “witch hunt” comment, it attributed this quote to the radio station.

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.

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.

Mediated outcome

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 offered to meet with the complainant to discuss the issues raised in the complaint.

8. The complainant said that the meeting with the newspaper had been productive and beneficial and said that it had resolved 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 resolved: 09/08/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 20/10/2017

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