Ruling

Resolution Statement 00674-17 Robertson v sun.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      15th June 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 3 Harassment

Resolution Statement 00674-17 Robertson v sun.co.uk

Summary of complaint

1. Colin Robertson complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that sun.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 3 (Harassment) in an article headlined “VILE VLOGGER Racist who polluted YouTube with ­hate-filled videos unmasked as jobless Scottish student who lives with his dad”, published on 9 January 2017.

2. The article reported that the identity of the complainant, an online blogger who had published videos on his YouTube channel, “Millennial Woes”, had been revealed, after he had addressed a conference at the National Policy Institute in Washington DC. The article referred to the complainant, and his videos, as “racist”, “vile”, “hate filled” and promoting “hatred of black people, Jews and women”.

3. The complainant expressed concern that the article had inaccurately referred to him as “racist”. He said that the newspaper’s characterisation of his videos as “vile” was inaccurate, because the material contained within them was innocuous. The complainant said that in those circumstances, it was inaccurate for the articles to report that he was “hateful”, or that his YouTube videos were “hate-filled”.

4. The newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code. The publication provided a number of links to a selection of videos which the complainant had published on his YouTube channel. It said that these videos demonstrated that the characterisation of the complainant’s views, and the description of his videos as set out in the articles, were justified.

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.

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

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

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.

Clause 3* (Harassment)

i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.

iii)  Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.

Mediated outcome

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

7. During IPSO’s investigation of the complaint, the newspaper offered to publish the following statement from the complainant, on the online article:

I do not accept that my videos are "hate-filled".  I do not hate any group in society, and it is not in and of itself racist or hateful to put one's own people first.  To hold an ethno-nationalist or ethno-centric position is entirely legitimate and does not make somebody "vile".  What I express in my videos are normal views that, I believe, are shared (whether openly or not) by a large segment of the British public.  I would urge readers to look up my material online - especially the forthcoming "Statements" series - and judge for themselves.

8. The complainant said this would resolve his complaint 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 compliant received: 14/01/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/05/2017