Resolution statement 11813-16 A Woman v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      23rd February 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 11813-16 A Woman v Mail Online

Summary of complaint 

1.    A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Schoolchildren returning from a half-term trip to France were forced to abandon coach after police swooped to search for illegal immigrants hiding in the luggage hold”, published on 1 November 2016. 

2.    The article reported that children had been forced to abandon their coach near Calais when police were alerted to the possibility that migrants were hiding in the luggage hold. 

3.    The complainant expressed concern that the article had given the significantly misleading impression that migrants had been found aboard the coach. She said at no time were stowaways on board; the police had not “swooped” on the vehicle or used any force; and the children had not been left stranded. She also said that the incident had occurred in Paris, not Calais, and considered that the story had been deliberately used to incite hatred towards those living in the Calais camp.   

4.    The publication considered that the article had made clear that it was “believed” that migrants were aboard the vehicle; it had not given the misleading impression that any migrants had been found on the bus. The publication did not consider that the article had suggested that the children had been stranded or that force had been used. It also denied the suggestion that the article had been published to incite hatred. 

Relevant Code 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 remove the article from its website. 

8.    The complainant said the removal of the article 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: 04/11/2016

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 16/01/2017