Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 03485-15 Burbage Parish Council v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      22nd May 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 03485-15 Burbage Parish Council v Daily Mail 

Summary of complaint

1. Burbage Parish Council (Leicestershire) complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Mail had published an article, headlined “You’ll have to dig up your granddad…he’s not a Muslim”, on 11 February 2015, which raised a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The article reported on a dispute relating to a burial in Burbage Cemetery, in which a Muslim family had objected to the burial of a non-Muslim an adjacent grave to their relative. It reported that “Parish Council bosses” were meeting that day to decide whether the non-Muslim man should be exhumed. It included a statement from the Parish Council chairman, who said that the Council was working with the relatives to reach an amicable and acceptable solution. 

3. The complainant denied that the Parish Council or any of its representatives ever considered exhumation, or mentioned or inferred it to anyone. It also denied that the Council meeting referred to in the article was due to consider or decide if an exhumation should take place. It said that when the newspaper contacted the Council for its response, the Council would have denied that exhumation was under consideration if the journalist had mentioned it to the spokesperson. 

4. The newspaper said that it had taken care to obtain the Council’s response to the concerns raised by the non-Muslim family. When it contacted the Council, and raised the specific concern in relation to exhumation, it was referred to the statement of the Council chairman, which was included in the article.  It denied that article was a significantly misleading account of the dispute. 

Relevant Code Provisions

5. 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. 

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact. 

Mediated outcome

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

7. The newspaper offered to publish the following clarification on page 2 of the newspaper: 

In common with other newspapers, an article of 11 February, “You’ll have to dig up your granddad…he’s not a Muslim’, reported that Burbage Parish Council was meeting to discuss if [the non-Muslim] man’s body should be moved to an alternative cemetery plot. We are happy to make clear the Council’s position that it has never discussed or considered an exhumation and we apologise for any misunderstanding” 

8. The complainant said that it would be content to resolve its complaint on this basis, and the correction was published. 

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: 06/05/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 22/05/2015