Ruling

Resolution statement Complaint 02462-16 Lee v The Leader

    • Date complaint received

      7th July 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 02462-16 Lee v The Leader

Summary of complaint

1. Doreen Lee complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Leader breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Queensferry woman’s life ‘ruined’ after finding sewer under her conservatory”, published on 10 February 2016.

2. The newspaper reported that the complainant’s conservatory might need to be demolished because it was built above a public sewer illegally.

3. The complainant said that she had contacted the newspaper about her story in the hope that it would name the builder responsible for her conservatory. She expressed concern that she had not been informed in advance that he would not be named for legal reasons. She also considered that the newspaper had inaccurately reported the cost of the building work, and that she had taken out loans to pay for it.

4. The newspaper said that it was sorry if the complainant had been given the impression that the builder would be named in the article; this had never been its intention. It also considered that the article had accurately reflected the information the complainant had given to the reporter, and it provided the notes taken during the conversation.

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.

Mediated outcome

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

7. As a gesture of goodwill, the newspaper offered to publish the following wording on page two or three, and it removed the article from its website:

Mrs Doreen Lee

IN AN article headlined 'Queensferry woman's life 'ruined' after finding sewer under conservatory', published on February 10 in the Flintshire Leader, we stated that Doreen Lee had taken out loans of more than £20,000 to pay for replacement work to her conservatory and that she had spent more than £36,000 on it. Mrs Lee has asked us to point out the work cost £5,000 and she did not take out any loans. Mrs Lee also asks us to clarify that the name of the builder involved was not published for legal reasons.

8. The complainant said that the publication of the wording would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.

9. 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: 19/04/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 20/06/2016