Resolution Statement – 10453-21 Jenkins and Jenkins v

    • Date complaint received

      13th January 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 3 Harassment, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock

Resolution Statement – 10453-21 Jenkins and Jenkins v

Summary of Complaint

1. Guto and Meinir Jenkins complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief and shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Heartbroken mum of boy, 3, killed on family farm said he loved going on tractor with dad”, published on 6 August 2021 and an article headlined “Boy, 3, died after being run over by a tractor as he played outside rural home”, published on 24 September 2021.

2. The articles reported on the tragic death of a young boy on his family’s farm. The first article contained a quote from the boy’s grandmother. The second article reported that the boy had died after being run over by a tractor.

3. The complainants, the boy’s father and grandmother, said that the articles were inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. The boy’s grandmother said she had not provided a journalist with any information, and that therefore the quote from her was inaccurate. In addition, they said it was inaccurate to report the boy had died after being hit by a tractor, as the vehicle had been a pick-up truck.

4. The complainants also said that the repetitive publishing of the story by the newspaper constituted a breach of Clause 3. They also said that by contacting the  grandmother two days after the boy’s death, and publishing the articles at  a time that was clearly very difficult for the family, the newspaper had breached Clause 4.

5. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. It said that the quotes from the boy’s grandmother had been published by another regulated newspaper and had not been corrected. It said it was therefore entitled to rely on this information, and republish the quotes. It also said that it appreciated the sensitivity of the topic, but did not consider the term “tractor” to be significantly inaccurate in breach of the Code. It did, however, offer to amend this point.

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.

Clause 3 (Harassment)*

i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.

iii)  Editors must ensure these principles are observed by those working for them and take care not to use non-compliant material from other sources.

Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)

In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

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 delete the quote from the boy’s grandmother in the first article, in addition to removing the word “tractor” from the second article.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to their 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: 06/10/2021

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 13/12/2021