Resolution Statement – 18597-17 Stand Against Racism & Inequality v mirror.co.uk
Summary of complaint
1. Stand Against Racism & Inequality, on behalf of Kamaran Ahmad Ali and family, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that mirror.co.uk breached Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Man charged with murder after neighbour found dead ‘with his penis chopped off’”, published on 8 September 2017.
2. The article was a report of the pre-trial proceedings of an individual, charged with the murder of a member of Mr Ali’s family. The article included details of the deceased’s injuries, and claimed that these details had been heard during the court proceedings.
3. The complainant said that these details had not been mentioned in court. It said that the family had not been aware of these details prior to the publication of the article, and that the inclusion had intruded into the family’s private life, and into their grief. The complainant expressed particular concern that publication had not been handled sensitively and noted the distress that the publication of the article had caused the family.
4. The publication did not accept that there had been a breach of the Code. It said that the details had been referred to at a Magistrate’s court hearing, and that this information was given to it by a reliable contact at the court. The newspaper said that it had a right and duty to report on these details, as they were heard in open court and because it concerned matters of public interest. As a gesture of goodwill, the publication amended the online article and added a footnote to it, to make clear that such details were not heard at a Crown Court hearing.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. Clause 2 (Privacy
i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
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.
iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)
In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. During the investigative process, the newspaper offered to write a private letter of apology to the family.
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to the satisfaction of Mr Ali and his family.
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: 21/09/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 07/12/2017