Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00777-15 A man v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      20th July 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge, 11 Victims of sexual assault, 12 Discrimination, 3 Harassment, 5 Reporting suicide, 7 Children in sex cases, 9 Reporting of crime

Resolution Statement: Complaint 00777-15 A man v Mail Online 

Summary of complaint

1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online had published an article in January 2015 that breached the terms of Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Privacy), Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock), Clause 7 (Children in sex cases), Clause 9 (Reporting of crime), Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge), Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The complainant said that the article had included inaccurate information about a court case in which he had been involved, and that the publication had intruded into his privacy. He said that the article had discriminated against him, and had named a family member without consent, and that a photograph of him had been obtained via clandestine methods. He also said that that the article included details which could contribute to the identification of an alleged child victim of sexual assault. 

3. The publication maintained that the article was an accurate report of proceedings which had taken place in open court, and said that the photograph of the complainant had been taken by an agency reporter in a public place, outside court. It did not accept a breach of any Clauses of the Code. Nonetheless, as a gesture of goodwill, it offered to remove 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, 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. 

Clause 3 (Privacy) 

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

Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) 

i) In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. 

Clause 7 (Children in sex cases) 

The press must not, even if legally free to do so, identify children under 16 who are victims or witnesses in cases involving sex offences. 

Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) 

i) Relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story.           

Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) 

i) The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices. 

Clause 12 (Discrimination) 

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability. 

Mediated outcome

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

6. The publication removed the article from its website as a gesture of goodwill. 

7. The complainant said that action taken by the publication had resolved 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: 08/05/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 20/07/2015