Ruling

Resolution statement Complaint 04601-16 Turrell v Metro

    • Date complaint received

      15th September 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution statement Complaint 04601-16 Turrell v Metro

Summary of complaint 

1.    A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Metro breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “We’ve an inkling this could be rigged… conspiracy theorists urged to use pens”, published in print on 24 June 2016, and “Brexit supporter questioned by police for offering pen outside polling station,” published online on 23 June 2016. 

2.    The article reported that a member of the public had been questioned by police “for offering pens to voters” outside a polling station in Chichester. The online version of the article also included a video of the interaction between the police officer who attended the polling station, and the member of the public who was handing out pens. 

3. The complainant, who was the PCSO who attended the polling station, said that it was inaccurate to report that she had attended because a member of the public had been handing out pens. She said that she had been in fact been called to the polling station following an allegation that a member of the public had responded with threatening words and intimidating behaviour when asked not to hand out pens by a polling officer. 

4. The newspaper said that the article reflected the position of the member of the public who had been handing out pens at the pooling station. However, it said that it had amended the online article to include the complainant’s position. 

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, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance. 

Mediated outcome

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

7.    The publication agreed to amend the headline of the online article to the following: 

Brexit supporter questioned by police following reports of ‘threatening behaviour’ after offering pen outside polling station. 

8.    The complainant said this amendment resolved the matter to her 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: 01/07/2016 

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/08/2016