Ruling

Resolution Statement 08557-16 Moran v Bedfordshire on Sunday

    • Date complaint received

      1st December 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

08557-16 Moran v Bedfordshire on Sunday

Summary of Complaint

1. Tony Moran complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Bedfordshire on Sunday breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in relation to a readers’ letter he submitted, published on 28 August 2016 with the headline “Dave cool with bridge”.

2. The published version of the letter stated “with any luck I shall arrange things so that I shall never gaze on the new bridge on the river-side, which is hideous”. 

3. The complainant said that in the letter he submitted for publication, he had used a colloquialism to indirectly refer to the new commercial venture by the riverside in Bedford. He said that in the published letter, the newspaper had replaced this phrase with the reference to the new bridge.  The complainant said that he had not meant to refer to the new bridge in his letter, and that the published letter was therefore a distortion. He also raised concern about other alterations the newspaper had made to his letter.

4. The newspaper said that the colloquialism that the complainant had used in the letter he had submitted could carry a meaning such as to require further substantiation. It said it removed the phrase to ensure safe publication, and replaced it with a direct reference to the new bridge, which is what it believed the complainant was writing about. The newspaper said that the new bridge was part of the commercial venture the complainant had been referring to, and denied that the article was significantly misleading.   

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.

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

Mediated outcome

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

8. Following IPSO’s intervention, the newspaper offered to republish a version of the complainant’s letter with a direct reference to the commercial venture by the riverside. 

9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

10. 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.

Complaint received: 20/09/2016
Complaint Concluded: 03/11//2016