Ruling

01700-16 Hadji v Daily Star

    • Date complaint received

      16th June 2016

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy

Decision of the Complaints Committee 01700-16 Hadji v Daily Star

Summary of Complaint 

1. Gabby Hadji complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Star breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “It’s like blind date without any clothes”, published in the Daily Star on 14 March 2016, and “Like Blind Date… only NAKED: Producers search for up-for-it singles for new TV show”, published online on 14 March 2016. 

2. The article reported that a new television dating show – where participants appeared naked – was searching for contestants. It quoted a source saying that the show’s makers had been “contacting members of the public via social media to try and convince them to take part”. The article listed a number of people who had been approached, including the complainant. It was accompanied by a photograph of the complainant, and a screenshot of the tweet sent to her by the show’s makers. 

3. The articles were identical in print and online expect for the headline. The photograph of the complainant online was accompanied by the caption “TARGETED: TV producers have contacted Hadji, right, about appearing in the new raunchy show”. 

4. The complainant said that the newspaper did not have permission to print her name or photograph, which was taken from her Twitter feed. She initially said that that her Twitter account had been switched to “private” a few months ago, and suggested that the newspaper must have followed her before she changed its status in order to have access to the photograph; she later said that her account had always been private. 

5. The complainant said that the article gave the inaccurate impression that she had been contacted by the makers of the show, and would appear in the show; she said that she had not seen the tweet from the show’s makers, and was not appearing in it. 

6. The newspaper said that the photograph used in the article was publicly accessible on the complainant’s Twitter feed at the time of publication. It said that had the account been private, it would not have been able to see the photograph, or the tweet from the show’s makers. It said that the article did not suggest that the complainant was going to appear on the show – it said that she had been approached to appear on the show. 

Relevant Code Provisions 

7.  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. 

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.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. 

Findings of the Committee 

8. Having read the detailed account provided by the newspaper of how it came upon the complainant’s photograph, the Committee was satisfied that her twitter account was not private at the time the article was published. In addition, it noted that the image published of the complainant was similar in nature to her publicly available profile picture, that she had more than 1,300 followers who had access to the images on her Twitter feed, and that the image displayed no intrinsically private information about her. In such circumstances, the publication of the image did not represent an intrusion into the complainant’s private life; there was no breach of Clause 2. Nonetheless, the Committee welcomed the removal of the complainant’s photograph from the online article. 

9. The article was careful to only say that the complainant had been approached to appear on the show, not that she was appearing on the show. While the complainant said she did not see the tweet asking her if she was interested in appearing on the show, she did not dispute that she had been tweeted by the show’s makers. It was not therefore inaccurate to report that she had been contacted to appear on the show; there was no breach of Clause 1. However, the Committee did note that given the context of the story, it was unfortunate that the newspaper had not contacted her for comment prior to publication.

Conclusions 

10. The complaint was not upheld. 

Remedial Action Required 

N/A

Date complaint received: 14/03/2016
Date decision issued: 31/05/2016