Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00242-16 Blomfield v The Sun

    • Date complaint received

      26th May 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00242-16 Blomfield v The Sun

Summary of complaint:

1.    Paul Blomfield MP complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sun breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “As Cameron declares war on sink estates, we visit Britain’s worst”, published on the newspaper’s website on 10 January 2016.

2.    The article focused on the Manor estate in Sheffield, and the complainant said that the journalist had not visited the estate prior to publication of the article. He expressed concern that it had used historical quotations which did not reflect recent improvements to the estate, and that some of the accompanying photographs showed a different estate in the area.

3.    The newspaper acknowledged that the journalist had not visited the estate and that archive material had been used, but did not believe that the article had been significantly inaccurate or misleading. It removed the article from its website.   

Relevant Code provisions:

4.    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.

(iii)     A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies must be given, when reasonably called for.

(iv)     The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Mediated outcome:

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

6.    The following correction was agreed between the two parties, for publication on the newspaper’s website: 

“Corrections & clarifications: Manor Estate, Sheffield 

An article ‘As Cameron declares war on sink estates, we visit Britain’s worst’ (10 January 2016) suggested that a reporter visited the Manor Estate in Sheffield, once described by Roy Hattersley as ‘the worst estate in Britain’. In fact, no representative of The Sun did visit the estate. The article was based on archive material, including the 21 year old Hattersley quote, and did not take into consideration recent improvements. We apologise to residents in the area.” 

7.  The complainant said that publication of the correction 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: 14/03/2016

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 13/05/2016