Ruling

Resolution Statement 01440-17 Taylor v The Daily Telegraph

    • Date complaint received

      30th March 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 01440-17 Taylor v The Daily Telegraph

Summary of complaint

1. Chris Taylor complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an online article headlined “Cuadrilla takes shale activist row to Government as local firms lose out”, published on 18 February 2017.

2. The complainant expressed concern that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that there had been “a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault” against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire, which he said had given a significantly misleading impression of the actions of anti-fracking protesters. He said that local police had confirmed that there had been just six arrests for public assembly at the site in the last month.

3. The newspaper accepted that due to a misunderstanding, it had inaccurately reported that protesters had been arrested for making verbal death threats and for physically assaulting members of Cuadrilla’s staff. When it was alerted to the error, it removed the article from its website and published the following correction on its corrections page, as well as a link to it on its home page for 48 hours:

An article of 18 Feb stated that there have been a dozen arrests in the last month of anti-fracking protesters at Cuadrilla's site in Lancashire, and that these "related to verbal death threats and physical assaults" against Cuadrilla workers. This was incorrect. In fact, there were 10 arrests at the site between 31 Jan and 18 Feb, all for alleged offences under s14 of the Public Order Act 1986. We apologise for this error. The article has now been removed from the site.

Relevant Code provisions

4. 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.

Mediated outcome

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

6. The newspaper offered to amend the correction to further clarify that Section 14 of the Public Order Act does not cover death threats and assault. The wording was as follows:

An article of 18 Feb stated that there have been a dozen arrests in the last month of anti-fracking protesters at Cuadrilla's site in Lancashire, and that these "related to verbal death threats and physical assaults" against Cuadrilla workers. This was incorrect. In fact, there were 10 arrests at the site between 31 Jan and 18 Feb, all for alleged offences under s14 of the Public Order Act 1986, which does not cover verbal death threats or physical assaults. We apologise for this error. The article has now been removed from the site.

7. The complainant said that the publication of this wording 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: 20/02/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 10/03/2017