Resolution Statement 13171-16 A man v Cambridge News

    • Date complaint received

      11th May 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      2 Privacy, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock

Complaint 13171-16 A man v Cambridge News

Summary of complaint

1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Cambridge News breached Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Man in his 20s killed in serious accident on A10 near Stretham”, published on 2 August 2016. 

2. The article reported that a man had been killed in a collision on the A10 earlier that day. It reported the man’s age, as well as the part of the A10 where the incident occurred. The article was accompanied by two photographs which showed the aftermath of the collision, and displayed the cars involved.

3. The complainant said that he learned of his son’s death by reading the article online. He said that he was able to identify his son’s car from the photographs published, and the other details of the collision reported in the article.

4. The newspaper said that it reported the collision following a police press release. It said that its photographer was given permission to take photographs of the scene of the collision by police. It said that it was made aware that the deceased’s next-of-kin had not been informed of the incident, and had ensured the registration plates of the cars involved were pixelated in the photographs published. It said that it did not publish the deceased’s name until after it had been released by police. Nonetheless, it said that it was sincerely sorry for the upset that was caused to the complainant and his family. 

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 2 (Privacy)

(i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

(ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant’s own public disclosures of information.

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 correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. In order to resolve the complaint, the publication agreed to write the complainant a private letter of apology.

8. The complainant said this action resolved the matter to his 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: 14/11/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 10/02/2017