Ruling

Resolution Statement 01682-17 Kelly v Express.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      22nd June 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy

Resolution Statement Complaint 01682-17 Kelly v Express.co.uk

Summary of complaint

1. James Kelly complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Express.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “BBC Newsreader criticised for stamping on mouse: ‘Quicker than a trap or poison’”, published on 3 March 2017.

2. The complainant said that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that he had stamped on a mouse. He said someone else had done so, and he had expressed his disapproval of their actions on social media. 

3. The newspaper accepted that the headline had not reflected the contents of the article, which it said had accurately reported that the complainant’s colleague had stamped on a mouse and the complainant had said on social media that he “did not approve” of the way the mouse was killed. It amended the headline and the introduction to the article, and it appended the following footnote:

This article was originally headlined "BBC Newsreader criticised for STAMPING on mouse: 'Quicker than a trap or poison'"and the introduction said "BBC Radio 2 journalist has faced criticism after joking about stamping on and killing a mouse.” In fact, newsreader James Kelly tweeted about a colleague who had killed a mouse in the NBH-1 main newsroom. It was not James Kelly who killed the mouse as is confirmed in the article, Mr Kelly did not approve of the method of dispatch.

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. During IPSO’s investigation of the complaint, the newspaper offered to publish the following apology to the complainant on its homepage:

Apology – James Kelly

On 03 March 2017 we published an article headlined "BBC Newsreader criticised for STAMPING on mouse: 'Quicker than a trap or poison.'" The introduction said "BBC Radio 2 journalist has faced criticism after joking about stamping on and killing a mouse.” This was inaccurate. In fact, newsreader James Kelly tweeted about a colleague who had killed a mouse in the NBH-1 BBC Radio main newsroom. It was not James Kelly who killed the mouse. Nor did Mr Kelly approve of the killing in any way or the method of dispatch. We apologise to Mr Kelly for any hurt these inaccuracies may have caused.

7. 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: 03/03/2017
Date complaint concluded: 05/05/2017