Resolution Statement: Complaint 00201-16 A man v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      15th March 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 6 Children, 9 Reporting of crime

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00201-16 A man v Mail Online

Summary of complaint

1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation on behalf of his brother, his brother’s wife and the couple’s young daughter that Mail Online had published an article on 11 January 2016 that breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 6 (Children) and Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

2. The article reported that the complainant’s brother had been jailed outside of the UK for possessing cannabis. It made reference to the complainant’s wife and daughter, and published photographs of them both.

3. The complainant said that the article contained a number of inaccuracies. He also said that the article had invaded the privacy of his brother’s wife and daughter, and identified them when they were not genuinely relevant to the story.

4. The publication accepted that there were a number of inaccuracies in the article, and had corrected it accordingly. It denied that the article had invaded the privacy of the wife and daughter of the complainant’s brother, and said that his family were genuinely relevant to the story.

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.

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 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.

iv) Children under 16 must not be paid for material involving their welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.

v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child's private life.

Clause 9 (Reporting of Crime)

i) Relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story.

ii) Particular regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children who witness, or are victims of, crime. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

Mediated outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. The publication agreed to remove the article under complaint, as well as a further article it had published about the complainant’s brother.

8. The complainant said these actions resolved 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: 12/01/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 15/03/2016