Resolution Statement – 00920-18 Hallam-Baker v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      19th April 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock, 6 Children

Resolution Statement 00920-18 Hallam-Baker v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Tracey Hallam-Baker complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Nursery pays mother £4k after boy of 2 is burned by cup of tea”, published on 22 January 2018. The article was also published online.

2. The article reported that a nursery had paid the complainant £4,300, after her two-year-old son was badly burned by a cup of tea. It was accompanied by a photograph of the mother and her son, and a photograph of the child’s burn. The online article also contained a photograph, purportedly of the nursery.

3. The complainant said that the newspaper had referred to the nursery as “Chapel Day Nursery”, instead of its actual name, “Chapel Gate Day Nursery”. She said that the photograph on the online article was of a completely different nursery. She said that the story was about a matter which caused her and her family a great deal of grief and shock. She was concerned that she had not received the fee she believed had been agreed for the article.

4. The newspaper said that it sourced the story from an agency, who had handled any issues in relation to a fee, or payment for the article. It said that there was no breach of Clause 4 or Clause 6 where the complainant had voluntarily spoken to the press. The newspaper said that the article located the nursery in a specific town, where there was no nursery called “Chapel Day Nursery”. For that reason, it did not believe this, or the use of the wrong photograph on the online article, would be a source for confusion. Nevertheless, the newspaper updated the name of the nursery in the online article, and removed the photograph.

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 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)

In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

Clause 6 (Children)

i) All pupils should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.

ii) They must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities.

iii) Children under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.

iv) Children under 16 must not be paid for material involving their welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.

v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child's private life.

Mediated outcome

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

8. During IPSO’s investigation of the complaint, the newspaper offered to publish the following clarification in its corrections and clarification column on page 2 of the newspaper:

An article on January 22 reported that Tracey Hallam-Baker was awarded £4,300 after her son suffered third-degree burns when he tipped a cup of tea over himself at Chapel Day Nursey, Bournemouth. We are happy to clarify that in fact the incident took place at Chapel Gate Day Nursery, Bournemouth.

9. The complainant accepted the newspaper’s offer of resolution, and the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 25/01/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 19/03/2018