Ruling

Resolution statement 03037-18 Khan v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      16th August 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution statement 03037-18 Khan v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Khalid Khan complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Leading UK doctor ‘groped me like an octopus in hotel bar’” published on 16 December 2018.

2. The article reported on a blog post, written by a woman who said that the complainant had allegedly groped her breasts in a hotel bar in 2014. The article repeated a number of claims made in the blog post, and reported that he was being investigated by three institutions where he held posts. It also reported a statement from the complainant, denying the allegations, “I deny these allegations and I am keen to clear my name. I will be co-operating with any investigations. In the mean time I have stepped aside from my editorial position at the BJOG.”

3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate, as it had reproduced claims from the blog post, which reported only the woman’s version of events. He said that all the claims made in the blog were inaccurate, and that he had never met the woman alleging this incident had taken place. He said that contemporaneous social media posts from the blogger did not make reference to these allegations. He also said that it was not the case that he was being investigated by the three institutions at which he held posts. He said only one investigation had been launched.

4. The publication did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that the article had made clear that it was reporting claims made in the blog post, which it was entitled to report. It provided statements from the three institutions, which it had contacted prior to publication, which all stated that the matter was being investigated.

5. During the course of the complaint the complainant contacted two of the institutions referred to in the article, which confirmed that they were not formally investigating the matter. Following this, the newspaper offered to publish the following clarification on page two, to resolve the complaint:

In an article on 16 December 2017 about allegations made by Dr Jen Gunter that Professor Khalid Khan had groped her – which he denies - we said that three institutions at which he holds posts were investigating the claims. While all three institutions said at the time that they were investigating the claims, we have since been informed that two – the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and St Bartholomew’s Hospital – are not investigating the matter. We are happy to make this clear.

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.

Mediated Outcome

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

7. During IPSO’s investigation, the newspaper offered to publish the following correction on page two of the newspaper in the clarifications and corrections column:

In an article on 16 December 2017 about allegations made by Dr Jen Gunter against Professor Khalid Khan – which he denies - we said that three institutions at which he holds posts were investigating the claims. While all three institutions said at the time that they were investigating the claims, we have since been informed that two – the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and St Bartholomew’s Hospital – are not. Professor Khan has also informed us that he has since returned to work. We are happy to make this clear.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his 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: 11/04/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 11/07/2018