Ruling

Resolution statement: Complaint 11653-15 Stanesby v The Plymouth Herald

    • Date complaint received

      2nd June 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 11653-15 Stanesby v The Plymouth Herald

Summary of complaint 

1. Jolly Stanesby complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Plymouth Herald breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Campaigner wants statue to celebrate his protests”, published in print and online on 20 October 2015.

2. The article reported that the complainant had “made headlines over the last decade for climbing up Exeter Cathedral, protesting on Harriet Harman’s roof and breaching security at Trouping the Colour in his fight for parental equality”. It said that the complainant “want[ed] to construct a statue in his own honour” and had “revealed he is working on plans for his own historic sculpture”.

3. The complainant said that the article’s claims that he wanted to construct a statue in his honour and that he had revealed plans for his own historic sculpture were inaccurate, in breach of Clause 1. The complainant also said that the publication breached Clause 2, because it had not responded adequately to his concerns, prior to his complaining to IPSO. 

4. The newspaper accepted that the claims about the statue were inaccurate, and said an error had been made during the subbing process – it had misunderstood a quote from a spokesperson over who had requested the construction of the statue. It apologised to the complainant for the mistake, and offered to publish the following clarification in print:
On October 10 2015 under the headline “Campaigner wants statue to celebrate his protests” we reported that Mr Jolly Stanesby wanted “to construct a statue in his own honour" and that he “has revealed he is working on plans for his own historic sculpture”. We would like to make clear that Mr Stanesby did not say this and that in fact a spokesman for New Fathers 4 Justice suggested celebrating Mr Stanesby's campaigning efforts.

It offered to publish a substantively similar footnote to the amended version of the online article.

5. The complainant did not accept this offer as a resolution to his complaint. 

6. The newspaper nonetheless published the clarifications in order to ensure that the inaccuracy was promptly corrected.

Relevant Code provisions

7. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.

Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply)

A fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for.

Mediated outcome

8. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter. 
  
9. The complainant said that the correction published by the newspaper would have gone unnoticed, and instead wanted it to publish an article about a speech his daughter had previously given in parliament regarding the family courts.

10. After further mediated negotiation, the newspaper offered to publish a further article about the complainant’s daughter’s experiences with the family courts both in print and online. 

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

12. 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: 02/12/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/04/2016