Resolution Statement 20835-17 Silk v Telegraph.co.uk
Summary of complaint
1. Matthew Silk complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Telegraph.co.uk had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) in a video headlined “Theresa May visits hospital with opt-out organ donation scheme”, published online on 12 October 2017
2. A caption screen for the video repeated the claim that the hospital had an opt-out organ donation scheme, but the audio which accompanied the video did not refer to this.
3. The complainant said that the headline and video caption were inaccurate, because no opt-out organ donation scheme yet exists in England. He argued that this was significant because it could cause confusion during the ongoing public consultation period regarding the introduction of such a scheme in England.
4. The publication accepted that the headline and video caption could suggest that the scheme was already in force. However, it considered that, as such a scheme was already in force in Wales, and being considered in Scotland, this did not represent a significant inaccuracy. Despite this, the publication offered to amend the headline, and append a clarification to the 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.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
8. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
9. After IPSO began its investigation, the publication agreed to amend the headline to read “Theresa May visits organ transplant patients following proposals for opt-out organ donation scheme in England”, and to append the following clarification to the article:
CLARIFICATION: Although an opt-out organ donation scheme is already in force in Wales and one is due to be implemented in Scotland, the scheme proposed by the Government for England is not yet in force, as the original headline to this article and video captions could have suggested. They have now been amended.
10. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
11. 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: 19/12/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 03/01/2018
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