Ruling

03941-15 Stanton v News & Star (Carlisle)

    • Date complaint received

      18th August 2015

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      3 Harassment

·       Decision of the Complaints Committee 03941-15 Stanton v News & Star (Carlisle)

Summary of complaint 

1. Lia Stanton complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the News & Star had breached Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “I suffer 80 dislocations a day”, published on 20 May 2015. 

2. The article told the story of the complainant’s experiences with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), and had been published to raise awareness of the disease. It included the name of the street on which the complainant lives, and said that she uses “heavy pain relief”. 

3. The complainant said that, while she had given an interview to the newspaper, she had not mentioned her use of pain relief, only that sufferers “tend to be on pain relief”. She also said that she had specifically requested that her address not be included in the article. She said that this information was private, and as a result of the article she had experienced attempted break-ins to her home by people seeking to steal her medication. 

4. The newspaper said that it was sorry to learn of the attempted break-ins to the complainant’s home, but it did not believe that the article had intruded into her privacy. The complainant had been happy to be interviewed at her home, and to pose for photographs in the street where she lives. It provided the reporter’s notes of the interview, which recorded that treatment is generally physiotherapy and pain relief. It said that the complainant had not asked for her address to be omitted from the article, and it had not included her house number, in line with the newspaper’s general policy on the publication of addresses. 

Relevant Code Provisions

5. 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. 

Findings of the Committee

6. The Committee acknowledged the distress which had been caused to the complainant following publication of the article. However, the complainant had chosen to discuss her condition with the journalist, and had mentioned during the interview that sufferers tend to use pain relief. She had consented to the publication of intimate details of her symptoms and care, and the specific type of medication was not identified in the article. In these circumstances, the Committee did not determine that the general reference to heavy pain relief constituted a failure to respect the complainant’s private life; there was no breach of Clause 3. 

7. The complainant had consented to being photographed on her street, and the photograph which was published did not identify the door number of her house. While the Committee was not in a position to establish whether or not there had been a request made for the complainant’s address to be omitted from the article, it concluded that, in all the circumstances, the inclusion of the complainant’s partial address in the article did not raise a breach of Clause 3 of the Code. 

Conclusions

8. The complaint was not upheld. 

Remedial Action Required

N/A 

Date complaint received: 02/06/2015

Date decision issued: 18/08/2015