Ruling

06696-17 Roberts v dailypost.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      21st September 2017

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 9 Reporting of crime

Decision of the Complaints Committee 06696-17 Roberts v dailypost.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Karon Roberts complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the dailypost.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Men who brawled after Euro 2016 match gave Caernarfon a 'bad name'”, published on 24 April 2017.

2. The article reported on the complainant’s step son’s conviction after he had “drunkenly brawled” after a Euro 2016 football match, along with another named individual. The article contained a 42 second video of the complainant and his stepson, walking into the court building. The article also included a photograph of the complainant’s stepson, taken as a still from the video footage, as well as a photograph of his co-defendant.

3. The complainant was not involved in the fight: he said he was not relevant to the story and the publication of the video had given the misleading impression that he was one of the defendants, and had intruded into his privacy.

4. The publication said that the complainant had appeared with the defendant outside of court where there was a reasonable expectation that the press, including photographers and videographers, may be present. It also said that the article had contained two large photographs which had identified the two defendants, making clear that the complainant had not been one of them.

5. In response to the complaint, the publication published a caption on the video which specified that the defendant was the individual walking on the right-hand side of the video. It also offered to publish the following clarification on the online article:

An earlier version of this article included a video showing one of the defendants [name] and his stepfather walking towards the court without a caption. We would like to make clear that the defendant, [name], is the man on the right-hand side of the image and that his stepfather was not involved in the incident subject to the proceedings at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Relevant Code provisions

6. 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.

iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

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.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Clause 9* (Reporting of Crime)

i) Relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story.

ii) Particular regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children who witness, or are victims of, crime. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

Findings of the Committee

7. The press are entitled to report on court proceedings and serve a public interest in identifying those convicted or accused of crime. While the complainant had not been involved in the incident, he had appeared in a public forum, accompanying one of the defendants as he had entered a court building: in doing so, the complainant had become relevant to the story. In the context of an article which was primarily a report of court proceedings and where the complainant had been filmed in a public location, entering court in the company of his stepson and was not engaged in private activity, the Committee did not conclude that the publication of this video represented a breach of Clause 9 or Clause 2.

8. The article had contained two photographs which had identified the complainant’s stepson and his co-defendant and both men had been named. In those circumstances, any ambiguity as to who the defendants were, was remedied in the body of the article and the Committee did not conclude that the article gave the misleading impression that that the complainant had been one of the accused. Nevertheless, the Committee noted the publication’s prompt action of adding the caption to the video, and welcomed its offer of a clarification. There was no breach of Clause 1.

Conclusions

9. The complaint was not upheld.

Remedial Action Required

N/A

Date complaint received: 04/05/2017
Date decision issued: 06/09/2017