Resolution Statement – 09598-22 A woman v

    • Date complaint received

      10th November 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement – 09598-22 A woman v

Summary of Complaint

1. A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Two people treated after fire in Heads Nook, near Carlisle”, published on 9 December 2021.

2. The article, which appeared online only, reported on a “house fire” at a named address in the village of Heads Nook, and reported that fire crews had attended the address.

3. The complainant, who owned the house named in the article, said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1; there had been no fire at her home, and fire crews had not attended her address. She said that the fire had in fact occurred at a different property.

4. The complainant said that she wished for the publication to: remove the inaccurate article from its website; publish a correction; send her a letter of apology containing the correction.

5. The publication accepted that it was inaccurate to state that the fire was at the named property; it said that this was based on a misunderstanding of the Fire Service’s log, which said that the fire occurred at a domestic property on an access road leading to the complainant’s property. It removed the article to address the complainant’s concerns, and in an offer to resolve the complaint.

6. The complainant said that the removal of the article was not sufficient to resolve her complaint.

Relevant Code Provisions

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

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

8. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to print the following correction in its print edition, and in the print edition of its sister publication The Cumberland News:

The [publication] would like to clarify that a fire that occurred at 10:30pm on December 8, 2021 was at a domestic property in Heads Nook, was not at [the complainant’s home] as previously reported.

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

Date complaint received: 27/05/2022

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 07/10/2022