Resolution statement – 04661-16 Gheorghe v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      10th November 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy

Complaint 04661-16 Gheorghe v Mail Online 

Summary of complaint 

1.    Isac Gheorghe complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “EXCLUSIVE - ‘We’re NOT leaving!’ Romanians who built mansions back home with money earned in UK vow to STAY here after Brexit because ‘British people won’t serve kebabs or work in factories’”, published on 5 July 2016. 

2.    The article reported that the complainant had said that Romanian nationals were going to stay in the UK following the Brexit vote, and that UK citizens did not want to work in kebab shops, cafes or factories. It said that the complainant and his family had built mansions in Romania by sending money home from the UK. The article was accompanied by a photograph of the complainant, as well as photographs of houses in Romania which the publication said were owned and built by Romanian nationals working in the UK, including the complainant’s family. 

3. The complainant said that he did not give a written statement to the publication, and had told the journalist who had approached him that he did not want to be interviewed. He also said that his name had not been accurately reported in the article, and that the publication of the article, and his photograph, breached his right to privacy. 

4. The publication said that while the complainant had refused to conduct a formal interview, he had spoken to its journalist, and it provided notes of that conversation. It said at no point during the conversation did the complainant request that his comments should not be published. It denied that publication of complainant’s quotes, or the photographs of the complaint and members of his family, breached Clause 2. 

Relevant Code provisions 

5. 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. 

Clause 2 (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. 

Mediated outcome 

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

7.    In order to resolve the complaint, and as a gesture of a goodwill, the publication agreed to remove the article from its website. 

8.    The complainant said this action resolved 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: 05/07/2016

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 26/09/2016