Ruling

Resolution statement 02298-17 Borg Olivier v Sunday Mail

    • Date complaint received

      8th June 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 6 Children

Complaint 02298-17 Borg Olivier v Sunday Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Daniel Borg Olivier complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sunday Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Malta love-tug dad is arrested in cocaine bust”, published in print on 12 February 2016, and "Hope for Scots tug-of-love mum after cops bust Maltese dad and seize cocaine and guns", published online on 12 February 2017.

2. The article reported that the complainant had appeared in court having been arrested whilst driving with his “friend”, following a “major drugs bust” and “guns seizure”. The article also reported that the complainant, and the mother of his son, were “battling” in an international custody case regarding their son. The article included a picture of the complainant’s son.

3. The complainant said that he was not a party to the police investigation which was reported, that he did not face any drugs charges, and that his connection to the case was purely circumstantial. He said that this represented a failure to respect his private life. The complainant also said that his son’s name, age, and photographs were used without his consent. He said that this represented a failure to respect his son’s private life.

4. The newspaper did not accept that the photograph represented a failure to respect the complainant’s private life, as they did not feature him. The newspaper also said that the photographs did not reveal any private information about his son, and that they were published with the consent of the child’s mother.

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 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.

(v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

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.

Clause 6 (Children)

i) All pupils should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.

ii) They must not be approached or photographed at school without permission of the school authorities.

iii) Children under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.

iv) Children under 16 must not be paid for material involving their welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.

v) Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child's private life.

Mediated outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. In order to resolve the complaint the newspaper offered to remove the photos featuring the complainant’s son from the relevant articles, and to mark its picture library with a warning not to use these images whilst the complainant has custody of the child.

8. The newspaper also agreed to endeavour to contact the complainant for comment in relation to future articles about him, or where it would be relevant to do so.

9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

10. 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: 12/02/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/05/2017