Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 06026-15 Rahman v Watford Observer

    • Date complaint received

      4th November 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 06026-15 Rahman v Watford Observer 

Summary of complaint

1. Mohammed Rahman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Watford Observer had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Immigration raid on Indian restaurant in north Watford”, published on 2 October 2015. 

2. The complainant’s restaurant had been raided by immigration enforcement officers. The newspaper published an article reporting that the raid had occurred. The article included a quote from a customer who claimed he was present in the restaurant at the time of the raid, and was forced to remain on the premises for two hours while the raid took place. 

3. The complainant said that there were no customers present in the restaurant at the time of the raid. 

4. The newspaper said that it had been contacted by a person who said he was in the restaurant at the time of the raid. It then contacted the Home Office, who confirmed that the raid had taken place. The original article included quotes from the man who claimed to have been in the restaurant at the time of the raid. However, when contacted by the complainant and advised that there were no customers in the restaurant, those quotes were removed from the article. 

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. 

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact. 

Mediated outcome

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

7. The newspaper published the following footnote to the amended online article: 

An earlier version of this story contained quotes from a man claiming to be a customer, suggesting that Indian Sizzler was open at the time of the raid.  The Observer is happy to make it clear that the restaurant was not open to the public at the time of the raid. 

8. The complainant said these actions 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: 03/10/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 04/11/2015