Resolution Statement 18759-17 Chiariello v thesun.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Gez Chiariello complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thesun.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “It’s ploddy outrageous: Taxi driver who was abused by suspended cop slams the decision to make him a finalist for ‘inspiring male award,’” published on 3 May 2017.
2. The article reported that a taxi driver, who had lost his licence after a verbal altercation with the complainant, had criticised the announcement that the complainant had been nominated for an inspiration award. The article also stated that the complainant had “left his wife and moved in with lover 15 years his junior,” and included his partner’s name and photographs of her, including one which contained a pixilated image of their child.
3. The complainant said it was inaccurate for the article to state that the taxi driver had lost his licence solely due to the verbal altercation between the pair. He also said that the article included inaccurate information relating to his private life, and believed the inclusion of the photographs of his partner and child breached their privacy.
4. The publication did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that the taxi driver had confirmed to the reporter that he had lost his licence over the incident with the complainant. It also said that all the photographs of the complainant’s partner included in the article were publicly available on social media. The publication also said it had pixilated the picture of the young child, who was therefore unrecognisable. Regardless, as a gesture of goodwill, the publication offered to remove the article from its website.
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 correction, promptly, and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published, In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
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 3 (Harassment) *
i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.
ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.
iii) Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.
Clause 6 (Children) *
i) All pupils should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.
ii) They must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities.
iii) Children under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.
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, while reiterating its position that the article had not contained inaccuracies the publication offered to remove the online article and write the complainant a private letter confirming the publication’s commitment to fact checking and validating sources. The publication passed the correspondence to the reporter to make them aware of the complainant’s concern and stated that they had no intention to republish the photographs.
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: 27/09/2017
Date complaint concluded: 23/11/2017
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