Resolution Statement 01507-18 A man v

    • Date complaint received

      5th July 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 01507-18 A man v

Summary of complaint

1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Porsche pest car sales boss sent colleague obscene texts after she rejected him,” published on 10 December 2017.

2. The article reported on the complainant’s recent court case. It stated that he had pleaded guilty to two charges under the Communications Act and been fined £2000. It reported that these charges related to messages he had sent to a former employee and included claims, attributed to an anonymous source, about the nature of the complainant’s conduct and the substance of the messages.

3.  The complainant said that the article was an inaccurate report of court proceedings. He said that the claims about his conduct, and the substance of the messages he had allegedly sent, had not been heard in court, and did not form the basis of his conviction. He said that including this information in an article that reported on the court case was misleading.

4. The publication did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that it did not have a reporter in court, however it maintained the article was accurate, as the journalist had interviewed the source, put the claims to the complainant prior to publication, and contacted the court for clarification of the precise charges the complainant had pleaded guilty to. It provided copies of the recordings of the conversation between the journalist and the court clerk, and the journalist’s conversation with the complainant.

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 accuracies should be given, when reasonable called for.

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

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, the publication offered to remove the article.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter 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 complaint received: 25/04/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 05/06/2018