Ruling

Resolution Statement 09508-20 Daniel Zajac v thesundaytimes.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      20th August 2020

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 09508-20 Daniel Zajac v thesundaytimes.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Daniel Zajac complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thesundaytimes.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Football hooligans join far-right ‘thugs’ to attack police over Black Lives Matter demos”, published on 13 June 2020.

 2. The article reported on violence amidst the Black Lives Matter protests. It also referred to the statue of Winston Churchill outside the House of Commons, and reported that the box which had been erected in order to protect the statue had been graffitied with the wording: “Do not open, racist inside”.

3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) because there was no graffiti on the box surrounding the statue. The complainant said that there was an image that showed this phrase on the box which had circulated on social media, however this was clearly fake.

4. The publication said it accepted that the graffiti had been faked. It said that once it was made aware of the error, it deleted the article.

Relevant Clause Provisions

5. 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.

Mediated Outcome

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

7. The publication offered to publish the following correction on its online corrections page:

On the Saturday July 4, Times Online briefly published a photograph of graffiti on the hoarding around Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square before being informed that it had been photoshopped. We apologise for the mistake.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve 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: 14/06/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 10/08/2020