Resolution Statement – 12200-21 Moulds v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      24th March 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      2 Privacy

Resolution Statement – 12200-21 Moulds v Mail Online

Summary of Complaint

1. Sarah Moulds complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “EXCLUSIVE: Shamed huntswoman filmed kicking and slapping horse is SUSPENDED from her primary school job and axed from Pony Club role as RSPCA leaves card at her front door telling her to 'get in touch' - as she goes into hiding after 'death threats'”, published on 9 November 2021.

2. The article reported on threats received by the complainant after a video of her went viral. It stated that the complainant had to “[go] into hiding” after receiving “death threats”. The article did not name the village in which the complainant lived, but stated her home was within a mile circumference of a certain landmark, that it was located in an upmarket Leicestershire village and included details about the property, including an image of its exterior.

3. The complainant said that the article intruded into her privacy in breach of Clause 2. She said that the information and photograph within the article were sufficient to reveal the location of her home to readers. She said that that given the nature of the threats she had received – which the publication was aware of, given they were referred to in the article – the publication of this information was a threat to her security. The complainant noted that she had already received death threats on social media and that, after the publication of the article, further threats had been delivered to her home.

4. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. It said firstly that the information included within the article was limited and could not identify the complainant’s address. It also provided information which demonstrated that the complainant’s full address was already within the public domain.

Relevant Code Provisions

Clause 2 (Privacy)*

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for their private and family life, home, physical and mental health, and correspondence, including digital communications.

ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. In considering an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information and the extent to which the material complained about is already in the public domain or will become so.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Mediated Outcome

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

6. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to delete the images of the complainant’s home from the article.

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

8. 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: 01/12/2021

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 14/03/2022