Ruling

Resolution Satatement: Complaint 00348-16 Jones v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      26th May 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00348-16 Jones v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Meirion Jones complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Red door apartheid”, published on 21 January 2016.

2. The article reported that asylum seekers had been “left at the mercy of violent racists” after being housed in properties provided by a housing company with doors which had been painted red. It reported that this had “effectively identified” these individuals and had made them targets for “racist jibes, burglaries vandalism and even knife attacks”. It included comments from those who claimed to have been affected. Further, it reported that 168 properties belonging to the housing company had been identified, and of these, 155 had red doors.

3. The complainant said that the article inaccurately suggested that the housing company had deliberately painted the doors of the property red in order to identify homes occupied by asylum seekers. The complainant was also concerned that the article misleadingly suggested that all of the 155 properties with red doors were occupied by asylum seekers. According to other news sources, only 62 of these properties were occupied by asylum seekers.

4. The newspaper did not accept that the article inaccurately suggested that the housing company had deliberately painted the doors of the properties red in order to identify the occupants as asylum seekers. Its focus had been the accounts of the individuals living in the properties, who claimed that they had been targeted as a result of living in properties with red doors. It said that the online version of the article made clear that reporters had spoken to occupants of 66 of the 155 properties with red doors, and that the occupants of 62 of these properties were asylum seekers. This information had however been lost in the subbing process of the print 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.

Mediated outcome

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

7. After further correspondence, the newspaper offered to publish the following clarification in print in its Clarifications & Corrections column:

An article on 21 January reported claims by asylum seekers in Middlesbrough who said they were suffering racial and physical abuse after being housed in properties with red front doors. We would like to clarify that, while 155 properties with red doors were identified, reporters only spoke to people living at 66 of these properties. Of these, 62 were home to asylum seekers.

8. The complainant said this would resolve 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: 21/01/16
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 24/03/16