Resolution Statement 16591-17 A man vs Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      2nd November 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 10 Clandestine devices and subterfuge, 2 Privacy

Resolution Statement 16591-17 A man vs Mail Online

Summary of complaint

1. A man complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy) and Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) in an article headlined, “Three British men who were on Portugal Invasion 'urban clubbing holiday' are thrown off of EasyJet flight home for 'disrespecting boarding rules'” published online on 28 June 2017.

2. The article reported that three men were “thrown off” a flight from Portugal for “disrespecting boarding rules’”, after having attended the “Portugal Invasion” clubbing holiday. It also contained a statement from the airline which said that the men had left the flight voluntarily after two of them had become ill. The article contained a photograph of the complainant and his two friends stood in the airport, after they had left the plane.

3. The complainant said he and his friends had not been attending the Portugal Invasion holiday and they had left the plane voluntarily after one of the group fell ill. He also said that his photograph had been taken, and published, without his consent. 

4. The publication said that the article was an accurate representation of the account provided by its sources in the Portuguese police and at the airport. It said that by including the airline’s account, the article had made clear that the exact series of events was in dispute. The newspaper did not consider that the men had a reasonable expectation of privacy in an airport, but said that it had taken the decision to pixelate the photograph of the complainant and his friends once it became clear that the police’s version of events was in dispute.

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.

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.

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

Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge)

i) The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held information without consent.

ii) Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means

Mediated outcome

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

7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the newspaper offered to remove the article from its website.

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: 30/06/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/10/2017