Ruling

00555-15 Mant v Take a Break

    • Date complaint received

      26th March 2015

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      2 Privacy, 3 Harassment

Decision of the Complaints Committee 00555-15 Mant v Take a Break

Summary of complaint 

1. Antony Mant complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Take a Break had breached Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) and Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “The temptress with a bus pass”, published on 22 January 2015.

2. The article was based on an interview with the complainant’s former partner, who said that, during her relationship with the complainant, he had also been romantically involved with a woman 22 years his senior. The complainant denied this allegation.

3. The complainant said that he had not been given an opportunity to comment on the story prior to publication, and that this raised a breach of Clause 2. He also objected to the publication of two photographs of him, considering this to be a breach of Clause 3. He said that his permission had not been obtained to publish these images, and that his daughter had been bullied at school as a result.

4. The magazine defended its coverage. A reporter had contacted the complainant prior to publication for his comment. A summary of his position was included in the article. It said that the photographs included in the article had clearly been taken in public places with the complainant’s consent, and had been provided by his former partner, who was entitled to share her experience. While it was regrettable that the complainant’s daughter had been bullied, she was not identified in the article. The photographs did not contain any private information about the complainant, and did not breach the terms of Clause 3.

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply)

A fair opportunity to reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for.

Clause 3 (Privacy)

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence.

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 in private places without their consent.

Findings of the Committee

6. The terms of Clause 2 do not provide a requirement to seek comment prior to publication, but provide a fair opportunity to respond to published inaccuracies. The complainant had not suggested that the article had included inaccurate information which would engage the terms of this Clause, and this aspect of the complaint was not considered further.

7. The photographs included in the article had been provided by the complainant’s partner, and had clearly been taken in public places with his consent. The magazine had not been required to seek his consent prior to publishing these photographs. The images did not reveal any private information about the complainant, simply showing his likeness and that he had been in a relationship with the woman who had shared her experiences with the magazine. There was no breach of Clause 3.

Conclusions

8. The complaint was not upheld.

Remedial Action Required

N/A

Date complaint received: 04/02/2015

Date decision issued: 26/03/2015