Ruling

01623-16 Bankowski v Cambrian News

    • Date complaint received

      12th May 2016

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      2 Privacy

Decision of the Complaints Committee 01623-16 Bankowski v Cambrian News

Summary of complaint

1. Hayley Bankowski complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Cambrian News breached Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Hospital operations cancelled”, published on 10 March 2016. 

2.  2. The article reported that hospitals had been forced to cancel operations, despite the provision of extra beds to deal with additional demand. It said that the Director of Acute Services had said that Aberystwyth’s Bronglais Hospital had been “particularly badly hit”, and that cancelling operations was “always a last resort”. The article named the complainant, and quoted her expressing concern that her own operation had been cancelled twice, and that Bronglais Hospital had not provided her with an adequate explanation. The piece was not published online.  

3.  3. The complainant said that she had sent a message to the newspaper via Facebook to request its assistance with getting answers from Bronglais Hospital about the status of her operation. She received a reply acknowledging her message, but she was not informed of the newspaper’s intention to name and quote her in the article. By the time the article was published, her operation had taken place. Had the newspaper contacted her, she would have explained that, while she was happy to be quoted, she did not wish to be named.  

4.  4. The newspaper provided the message that the complainant had sent in which she had asked whether it “as a paper” would be able to “get more answers” from the hospital. The newspaper replied saying that the message had been passed to the news editor. 

5.  5. On receipt of the complainant’s request for assistance, the newspaper took the matter up with the health board; it was then able to run the story. As far as the newspaper was concerned, the complainant had raised valid points that she wanted to be made public; it was therefore surprised that the article had given her cause to complain. To resolve the complaint, it offered to run a clarification to make clear that the complainant had since had her operation. 

Relevant Code provisions 

6.   6. 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. 

Findings of the Committee 

7. 7. The complainant had voluntarily given the information contained in the article to the newspaper. There was no reason for the newspaper to believe that it was not for publication, and it had made the complainant aware that the news desk was looking at it. Having regard for all the circumstances, including the nature of the information published, the newspaper had not failed to respect the complainant’s private life in breach of Clause 2. 

Conclusions 

8.  8. The complaint was not upheld. 

Date complaint received: 10/03/2016 
Date decision issued: 21/04/2016