Ruling

13380-16 Townsend v express.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      20th April 2017

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Decision of the Complaints Committee 13380-16 Townsend v express.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Glyn Townsend complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that express.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “I'm A Celebrity 2016 SCRAPPED by ITV after just two days and fans are 'gutted'”, published on 16 November 2016.

2. The article reported that the television show ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get me out of here!’ “was shelved by ITV last night in favour of the England V Spain football match”. The sub headline of the article reported that “ITV pushed back the hit reality series to prioritise the big game just days into the latest cycle” and continued by stating that the programme “will return to ITV on Wednesday night for an extended 90 minute episode at 9pm”. The newspaper had published a link to the article on the website’s homepage; the link showed only the article’s headline and a reader was required to click the link in order to gain access to the full article.

3. The complainant expressed concern that, given that the headline referred to the series’ name, the article gave the misleading impression that the entire series had been cancelled, when only one episode had been rescheduled. The complainant accepted that the body of the article made clear that the headline was referring to a single episode rather than the entire series; however he said that this only became clear once a reader had clicked through the link on the homepage.

4. The newspaper did not accept any breach of the Code. It said that the use of the term “scrapped” in the headline was not misleading because the episode of ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ had been cancelled in favour of the football match. It said that the sub headline of the story was visible on the homepage, therefore readers would have understood when reading this along with the headline, that the entire series had not been cancelled. The newspaper said that the headline and article must be read together and when done so, it was clear that the headline was referring to a single episode only.

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.

Findings of the Complaints Committee

6. The sub headline reported that the programme had not been aired, because of the England V Spain football match and made clear that the programme would return to ITV the following evening. It was therefore made clear that any disruption to the programme’s scheduling was temporary. In that context, the characterisation of the programme as having been “scrapped” in the headline was not significantly misleading and the article’s headline was supported by its accompanying text. There was no breach of Clause 1.

Conclusions

7. The complaint was not upheld.

Remedial Action Required

N/A

Date complaint received: 19/11/2016
Date decision issued: 03/04/2017