Ruling

Resolution Statement – 09601-21 Bradley v kentlive.news

    • Date complaint received

      16th December 2021

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement – 09601-21 Bradley v kentlive.news

Summary of Complaint

1. Christabel Bradley complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that kentlive.news breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “15 of the biggest mistakes in Kent's history - from the DartCharge to Manston Airport”, published on 31 August 2021.

2. The article reported a list of the 15 “biggest mistakes in Kent’s history” which included the closure of Manston Airport. The article claimed that the Secretary of State had given a proposed £330 million freight air cargo hub the green light “a few days ago”.

3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 because the Secretary of State had granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) into Manston in July 2020 but, following a Judicial Review, it was revoked at the end of 2020. She also said the decision/DCO was still being reviewed at the time the article was published. Therefore, the assertion that the cargo hub had been given the green light “a few days ago” was misleading.

4. The publication said it accepted the article was inaccurate and during the referral period, offered to amend the article and publish the following footnote clarification:

A previous version of this article stated the Secretary of State gave plans for a £330m freight air cargo hub the green light 'a few days ago'. In fact, this was given the green light in July 2020. We are happy to clarify this.

5. The Complainant did not accept this as a resolution to her complaint as it did not make clear that the Secretary of State’s ‘green light’ for the freight air cargo hub had to be withdrawn following a Judicial Review.

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

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

7. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to amend the article and, following a further proposed wording which was rejected by the complainant, print the following footnote correction:

A previous version of this article stated the Secretary of State gave plans for a freight air cargo hub the green light 'a few days ago'. In fact, the Secretary of State gave the green light in July 2020. Following a Judicial Review, he had to retract his decision in December 2020. After further submissions were sought, a new decision is pending.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her 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: 2 September 2021

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 3 November 2021