Satisfactory Remedy – 21840-23 Mallabourn v

Decision: Resolved - satisfactory remedy

Satisfactory Remedy – 21840-23 Mallabourn v

Summary of Complaint

1. Colette Mallabourn complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Jermain Defoe now linked with wedding planner after 'leaving wife for influencer'”, published on 25 September 2023.

2. The article reported on an alleged relationship between a footballer and the complainant’s daughter. It stated another publication “now reports that [the footballer] is in a relationship with another woman” and named the complainant’s daughter. The article also reported that the complainant “told [another publication]: ‘Yes, they are in a relationship together.’”

3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. She denied she had confirmed to the other publication that her daughter and the footballer were in a relationship. She provided a transcript of her conversation with the reporter from the other publication. In the conversation, the reporter said, “I’m here to find out about Paige and the new relationship with Jermain Defoe”, and the complainant had responded “and how do you know this?”. The complainant said this was not the same as confirming the relationship and she had never said what she was quoted as saying in the article.

4. The publication accepted the complainant had not confirmed her daughter’s relationship with the footballer. On 6 November 2023, twelve days after it became aware of the complainant’s concerns, it offered to amend the article to remove the inaccurate information and to publish the following correction as a footnote to the article:

“A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that [the woman]’s mother had told The Sun on Sunday: ‘Yes, they are in a relationship together.’' In fact, it has since been confirmed that this was incorrect. We are happy to clarify that [the woman]'s mum did not confirm the relationship and apologise to her for the error.”

It then amended the article and published the correction on 7 November, thirteen days after it first became aware of the complainant’s concerns.

5. The complainant did not accept the proposal as a resolution to the complaint as she said the correction was not sufficient to make amends for the “anguish, stress, reputational damage, humiliation and hurt” caused by the error.

6. The publication requested that IPSO consider whether the remedial measures it had offered to the complainant amounted to a satisfactory resolution of the complaint such that, subject to fulfilment of the offer, the complaint could be closed.

Relevant Clause 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.

v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

Relevant IPSO Regulations

40. If a Regulated Entity offers a remedial measure to a complainant which the Regulator or, if applicable, the Complaints Committee considers to be a satisfactory resolution of the complaint, but such measure is rejected by the complainant, the Regulator or, if applicable, the Complaints Committee shall notify the complainant of the same and that, subject to fulfilment of the offer by the Regulated Entity, it considers the complaint to be closed and a summary of the outcome shall be published on the Regulator's website.


7. IPSO considered whether the actions taken by the publication amounted to a satisfactory remedy of the complaint.

8. The Committee noted the correction and apology to the complainant was offered twelve days after receiving the complaint from IPSO, and published a day later. Allowing for the time taken to investigate whether the article was inaccurate, the Committee considered the correction to have been published with sufficient promptness. The correction also acknowledged the inaccuracy, and put the correct position that the complainant had not confirmed the relationship on the record. As the correction appeared as a footnote, the Committee considered it an appropriate remedy for an error which appeared in the text of the article, in circumstances where the article had also been amended to remove the original inaccuracy. The Committee therefore considered it was sufficiently prominent.

9. Having taken into account the nature of the complaint and the publication’s remedial actions in response, the Committee concluded the remedial measures offered by the publication were a satisfactory resolution of the complaint and the complaint would be closed.

Date complaint received:  18/10/2023

Date complaint concluded by IPSO:  25/01/2024

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