Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 06278-15 Khan v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      6th November 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 06278-15 Khan v Mail Online 

Summary of complaint

1. Shoaib Khan complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that MailOnline had published an article, headlined “UK ‘could quit human rights court’: Britain’s top legal officer admits he doesn’t know if UK will still be signed up to laws by 2020”, on 16 September 2015, which breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The article reported on comments made by the Attorney General to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee concerning the UK’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). One of the article’s sub headlines claimed that “Jeremy Wright said he ‘doesn’t know’ if UK will be signed up to EU Human Rights Law by 2020”. 

3. The complainant said that the subheading was inaccurate. He said that the ECHR was not EU law, and to confuse the two was significantly misleading. 

4. The publication said that the use of “EU” in the sub headline was an abbreviation for “European” and that it did not require correction. It amended the sub headline to remove reference to the “EU”, and published a footnote explaining that this amendment had been made, and making clear that the Attorney General was commenting on the Human Rights Act which links UK courts to the ECHR. 

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 instigated an investigation into the matter. 

7. After further correspondence, the publication agreed to publish the following clarification in the publication’s Clarifications & Corrections Column: 

Our article of 16 September headlined “UK ‘could quit human rights court’: Britain’s top legal officer admits he doesn’t know if UK will still be signed up to laws by 2020” included a subheading which referred to ‘EU Human Rights Law’. In fact, Jeremy Wright was making reference to the European Convention on Human Rights, which is not European Union law. We are happy to clarify this and apologise for any confusion. 

8. The publication also offered to publish a new footnote with the following wording: 

In an earlier version of this article, a subheading referred to ‘EU Human Rights Law’. In fact, Jeremy Wright was making reference to the European Convention on Human Rights, which is not European Union law. We are happy to clarify this and apologise for any confusion 

9. The complainant said that this would be a satisfactory resolution to his complaint. 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: 12/10/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 06/11/2015