Ruling

Resolution Statement 04582-18 Johnson v Daily Star

    • Date complaint received

      2nd August 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 04582-18 Johnson v Daily Star

Summary of complaint

1. David Johnson, acting on behalf of Adam Johnson, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Star breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Footie perv Adam ‘will play abroad’”, published on 2 March 2018.

2. The complainant said that it was inaccurate to refer to his son as a “paedophile” or a “nonce”. He said the term “paedophile” described a “male predator who had sexual attraction towards prepubescent children”; his son was not a paedophile.

3. The newspaper denied that it had breached the Code. It noted that Adam Johnson had been convicted of sexual activity with a child; it was not therefore inaccurate to use the word “paedophile” to describe him. It also did not consider that it was inaccurate to describe him as a “pervert”, which referred to a person whose sexual behaviour is regarded as abnormal and unacceptable.

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.

Mediated outcome

5. The newspaper offered to remove the article from its website, and it agreed to contact the complainant if it needed to verify information which it received about Adam Johnson.

6. The complainant accepted the newspaper’s offer as a resolution to the complaint.

7. 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: 20/03/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/07/2018