Resolution Statement – 27809-20 Levick v The National
Summary of Complaint
1. Adam Levick complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The National breached Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “In Gaza there is no new normal ... just the same old hell haunted by death”, published on 21 August 2020.
2. The article, an opinion piece, focused upon the challenges facing those living in the Gaza Strip, prior to and during the Covid-19 pandemic, and stated “neither chemotherapy nor radiology treatments are available due to Israeli restrictions on medication entering the strip”.
3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) to report that Israel prevented chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments from entering Gaza. While he acknowledged that there were often shortages of the drugs due to internal disputes within Gaza, this was not the same as Israel preventing their entry.
4. The publication did not accept that the article breached the Code, as it did not consider that the alleged inaccuracy identified by the complainant was significantly inaccurate or misleading. The publication said that the information included in the article was based upon a press release issued by the Save the Children Fund, which referenced a 2009 report by the World Health Organisation entitled ‘Medical equipment in Gaza’s hospitals. Internal management, the Israeli blockade and foreign donations’, and published in good faith.
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.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to amend the online article, removing the statement that “neither chemotherapy nor radiology treatments are available due to Israeli restrictions on medication entering Gaza.” The publication also offered to include the following correction as a footnote:
“A previous version of this article stated that neither chemotherapy nor radiology treatments are available due to Israeli restrictions on medication entering Gaza. This was based upon a press release published by Save the Children which inaccurately cited a 2009 World Health Organisation report. We are happy to clarify this.”
7. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
8. 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: 03/09/2020
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 25/11/2020Back to ruling listing