Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 04971-15 Louth v Scarborough Evening News

    • Date complaint received

      6th October 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 6 Children

Resolution Statement: Complaint 04971-15 Louth v Scarborough Evening News 

Summary of complaint

1. Andy Louth complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Scarborough Evening News had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Probe after Snapchat gaffe”, published on 6 August 2015. 

2. The newspaper had reported that a group of drunken teenagers had photographed themselves breaking into a cricket club, and had posted the evidence on Snapchat. The newspaper had accompanied the article with a photograph of a group of teenagers, faces pixelated, with the caption “…police suspect this group are responsible…” 

3. The complainant was the father of one of the teenagers pictured in the photograph. He said the image was taken two weeks before the break-in and was therefore not a picture of the alleged vandals. He also noted that his family had been away on holiday at the time of the break-in. He said the identity of the individuals pictured was clear to local people despite the fact their faces had been pixelated. The newspaper had published a correction, but the complainant did not consider that it had been given due prominence. 

4. The newspaper said the photograph was published in good faith, but by mistake, and it apologised for the misleading impression this had given. It said it had, however, promptly published a correction, which had addressed the inaccuracy, included an apology, and appeared on a main news page, 12 pages further forward that the original item. 

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. 

Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) 

A fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for. 

Clause 6 (Children) 

i) Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion. 

ii) A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child's welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents. 

Mediated outcome

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

7. The newspaper offered to publish a follow-up article on the break-in, which repeated the clarification and made clear that the image was not taken on the evening of the vandalism and that the police were not investigating those pictured in relation to the incident. 

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

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: 12/08/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 6/10/2015