Ruling

Resolution Statement: 02466-16 Lansman v Sunday Telegraph

    • Date complaint received

      3rd November 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge, 3 Harassment

Resolution Statement: 02466-16 Lansman v Sunday Telegraph

1. Jon Lansman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Sunday Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article published on 19 December 2015.

2. The article said that the complainant was linked to a company run by members of his family, and described the nature of the work the company carried out. The article also included a photograph of the complainant and members of his family.

3. The complainant said that the article had given a misleading impression of the nature of his family members’ company, and the sort of work it carries out. He said that a number of specific claims made about the company in the article were inaccurate.

4. The complainant also said that the image had been taken from social media without consent, which he suggested was in breach of Clause 10, and that its publication intruded into his family’s private life in breach of Clause 3.

5. The newspaper did not accept that the article provided a significantly misleading account of the nature of complainant’s family’s company. Neither did it accept that the article’s description of the company’s activities was inaccurate.

6. Further, the newspaper did not accept that the publication of an image that had been posted on social media intruded into the complainant’s family’s privacy, or that it had been obtained through subterfuge or misrepresentation.

Relevant Code provisions

Clause 1 Accuracy

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted

information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.

Clause 3 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.

Clause 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge

i) The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden

cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held private information without consent.

ii) Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.

Mediated outcome

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

8. Following further correspondence, the newspaper offered to remove the online article from its website, and to publish the following correction and apology in print. It also offered to publish a substantively similar correction online, to appear on its website’s “News” page for 24 hours, after which it would be archived.

Jon Lansman

An article of Dec 19, 2015 about Foundation Property & Capital (FPC), a company run by Mr Lansman’s brother and son, stated that the company’s “main funds do not appear to be held in Britain” though it had claimed to have £25 million in capital “immediately available” and acquired and sold property worth up to £70m in 2011.

In fact, FPC occasionally joint ventures with third party UK investors to raise investment funds and sometimes does not “hold” them itself. The article also stated that FPC had made a verbal agreement with the tenants of a pub to pay them compensation for giving up their tenancy, but the tenants had said no money had been paid.

In fact, the tenants were paid £85,000 under the terms of a written agreement. We are happy to set the record straight and we apologise for any distress caused.

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: 19/04/2016
Date complaint concluded: 12/08/2016