Ruling

Satisfactory Remedy – 14345-21 Grubb v mirror.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      19th May 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - satisfactory remedy

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Satisfactory Remedy - 4345-21 Grubb v mirror.co.uk

Summary of Complaint

1. Kevin Grubb complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that mirror.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “New Year's asteroid bigger than Big Ben to crash into Earth's atmosphere”, published on 30 December 2021.

2. In addition to the statement made in the headline, the opening sentence of the article reported that an asteroid would “burn through Earth’s atmosphere”.

3. The complainant said that the headline and the opening sentence of the article were inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code. He said that the asteroid would not crash into or burn through the Earth’s atmosphere but would pass the Earth over three million miles away, as stated elsewhere in the article. The complainant said that this was a significant inaccuracy as the asteroid passing through Earth’s atmosphere would be catastrophic.

4. The publication accepted that the headline and the opening sentence of the article were inaccurate. A day after IPSO made the publication aware of the complaint it amended the headline to “New Year's asteroid bigger than Big Ben to come close to Earth”. The opening sentence was removed from the article and the following correction was added at the top of the article under the headline: This headline and article have been amended after publication to correct the claim the asteroid would 'crash into Earth's atmosphere'. It is due to pass over 3 million miles away. The complainant did not accept these measures as a resolution to the complaint. After IPSO began its investigation, the publication offered to publish a further standalone correction on the homepage to read: New Year's asteroid - A Correction Our article of 30 December contained an inaccurate headline and incorrectly reported that an asteroid 'bigger than Big Ben was to crash into Earth's atmosphere'. In fact, the asteroid was due to pass over 3 million miles away, and would not pass through the Earth's atmosphere. The article has been amended accordingly and we have published this correction to make this clear.

5. The complainant did not accept the proposal as a resolution to the complaint as he wanted the publication to explain how the error had occurred.

Relevant Code Provisions

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. v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

Outcome

6. The publication requested that IPSO consider whether the remedial measures it had offered to the complainant amounted to a satisfactory resolution of the complaint such that, subject to fulfilment of the offer, the complaint could be closed.

7. The Committee noted that the publication had removed the inaccurate information from the headline and the opening sentence of the article and had published a correction which identified the inaccuracy and put the correct position on record. The publication had also offered to publish a further, standalone correction on its homepage. The Committee considered that the inaccuracy would be corrected by the published correction; the publication of the further standalone correction; and the removal of the information from the article. The correction had been published promptly, within a day of the publication being notified of the complaint and with due prominence, immediately under the headline. The information had been removed from the article promptly, on the same day.

8. In line with the provisions in Regulation 40 of IPSO’s Regulations; having taken into account the nature of the complaint and the publication’s remedial actions in response, the Committee concluded that the remedial measures offered by the publication were a satisfactory resolution of the complaint and, subject to the further standalone correction being published, the complaint would be closed.


Date complaint received: 31/12/2021

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 04/05/2022