Ruling

Resolution statement 02956-16 Sleep v That’s Life!

    • Date complaint received

      11th August 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 02956-16 Sleep v That’s Life!

Summary of complaint

1. Tamsin Sleep complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that That’s Life! breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Unconscious when…docs made me pregnant against my will”, published on 12 May 2016.

2. The complainant said that the front-page headline had inaccurately suggested that doctors had made the subject of the article pregnant while she was unconscious. In fact, the story concerned a woman who had an abortion, which had failed. The complainant considered that the headline had implied serious wrongdoing on behalf of the medical profession, which had not taken place. 

3. The magazine did not consider that the headline was an inaccurate summary of the contents of the article. The subject of the article had an abortion under general anaesthetic; when she discovered that she was still pregnant, she had blamed doctors for leaving her pregnant against her will.

Relevant Code provisions

4. 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

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

6. The magazine offered to make a donation to a medical charity, and to publish the following correction in a forthcoming issue:

Correction

In issue 19, dated 12 May 2016, we printed a story with the strap line: Unconscious when… Docs made me pregnant against my will

The title was intended to reflect the fact that the interviewee had a failed abortion, and not that she was impregnated by any member of the medical profession. We apologise for any confusion caused, and are very pleased to set the record straight.

7. The complainant said that the magazine’s offer would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.

8. 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: 16/05/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 05/07/2016