Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00575-15 Hope v The Times

    • Date complaint received

      24th February 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00575-15 Hope v The Times 

Summary of complaint

1. Donald Hope, a vineyard owner, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Times had published an article, headlined “Chateau Hebrides’ bittersweet vintage”, on 24 December 2014, which raised a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The complainant expressed concern that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that he had been declared bankrupt, and had wrongly implied that he had sold wine and given it to friends, which would have had potential legal implications had it been true. The correction published by the newspaper had not fully addressed his concerns. 

3. The newspaper said it had published the following clarification and apology in its Corrections and clarifications column on page 33 of the newspaper and online: 

“In an article about wine-making on the Isle of Lewis, we wrongly said that Mr Donald Hope had once been bankrupt (“Chataeau Hebrides’ bittersweet vintage”, Dec 24). We are pleased to confirm that this has never been the case, and we apologise to Mr Hope for the error. Mr Hope has further asked us to clarify that the produce from his land is not a business but a paying hobby, as understood by HM Revenue and Customs.”  

Relevant Code Provisions

4. Clause 1 (Accuracy) 

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance. 

Mediated outcome

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

6. The newspaper offered to publish the following additional clarification in its Corrections and clarifications column on page 21: 

“Further to the clarification published on Feb 13, Mr Donald Hope states that he has never sold a bottle of his wine (“Chateau Hebrides’ bittersweet vintage”, Dec 24) or given it away to friends. We are happy to put this on the record.” 

7. The complainant said the publication of this second clarification 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: 06/02/2015 

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 24/02/2015