Ruling

Satisfactory Remedy – 01945-22 Berry v elystandard24.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      9th June 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - satisfactory remedy

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Satisfactory Remedy – 01945-22 Berry v elystandard24.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Drew Berry complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that elystandard24.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Former Mepal Outdoor Centre at forefront of new film”, published on 3rd March 2022.

2. The online article reported on fundraising efforts by film makers, Fenland on Film, to produce a film about the Mepal Outdoor Centre “in its heyday”. It reported that the film makers were “compiling footage of the centre in the years it was operational and before it was demolished in November last year”. It included the comments made by the company on its Facebook page, and noted that plans regarding the venue’s future were still under consideration by the local authority.

3. The complainant, the producer of the film, said the article was inaccurate, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy). The film was not about Mepal Outdoor Centre “in its heyday”, nor was the production company compiling any footage from the years when the centre was operation or before its demolition. The complainant’s Facebook post, upon which the article was based, read: “Mepal Outdoor Centre – ‘The Penultimate Hour’ […] We shot a cartridge of Super 8 film in November last year (just weeks before the centre was demolished) […] and we’re confident that this will be an incredibly atmospheric and thought provoking entry to our film series and one that will see the iconic structure (what was left of it) captured for posterity in a way that nobody else has”. The complainant also expressed concern that he had been given insufficient time to respond to comment; a reporter had contacted him for comment, via both e-mail and Facebook messenger, a number of hours before the article’s publication. He responded to the reporter the next day. 

4. The publication said it had misunderstood the complainant’s public Facebook post. It accepted that the film had not been recorded when the centre was “operational”, rather it had been shot when the centre was closed and just weeks before it was demolished. Once it had become aware of the error, the following day, the publication had amended the online article to remove this information and to include the further comments provided by the complainant.

5. In addition, upon receipt of the complaint from IPSO, on 17th March 2022, the publication also offered to publish the following apology and clarification to the foot of the article:

“An earlier version of this article said Fenland on Film was compiling footage of the Mepal Outdoor Centre in its heyday and in the years it was operational and before it was demolished. However, the film will be a brief look at the Mepal Outdoor Centre site in its final days before the main buildings were demolished. We are sorry for any confusion this may have caused and are happy to clarify the position.”

6. Whilst the complainant did not consider that the proposal was sufficient to resolve his complaint, the publication published the apology and clarification on 25 March 2022.

Relevant Code Provisions

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 inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

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

Outcome

7. IPSO considered whether the actions taken by the publication amounted to a satisfactory remedy of the complaint.

8. The publication had removed the inaccurate information from the online article, included comments provided by the complainant, and published a clarification. This clarification, which included an apology, made the correct position clear: Fenland on Film were not compiling footage of the Mepal Outdoor Centre in its “heyday” and in the years it was operational, rather the film focused on the Centre in the final days before it was demolished. This clarification had been published promptly, upon receipt of the complaint from IPSO, and was sufficiently prominent, appearing at the foot of the online article.

9. In line with the provisions in Regulation 40 of IPSO’s Regulations; having taken into account the nature of the complaint, and the actions taken by the publication in response, the Committee concluded that the measures offered (and then taken by the publication) were a satisfactory remedy to the complaint.


Date complaint received: 07/03/2022

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 26/05/2022