Ruling

Resolution Statement – 18631-23 Kent v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      17th August 2023

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement – 18631-23 Kent v Daily Mail


Summary of Complaint

1. Andrew Kent complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Daily Mail breached Clause 1(Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “NOTHING LESS THAN A COUP IS TAKING PLACE IN BRITAIN”, published on 27 May 2023.

2. The article, an opinion piece, stated that “staff at the Home Office have threatened to strike in order to stop the Rwanda deportation policy, which enjoys the support of the majority of the population”.

3. A substantively similar version of the article also appeared online, under the headline: “Nothing less than a coup is taking place in Britain... The ultra-woke civil service and renegade Tories still loyal to the EU are working to destroy an elected government”.

4. The complainant said the article was inaccurate, in breach of Clause 1, to report that the Rwanda deportation policy “enjoy[ed] the support of the majority of the population”. While the complainant accepted that an opinion poll – and which had been covered separately by the publication – had found 46 per cent of the public were “in support” of the scheme, he said this could not be considered a “majority”. The poll found that “28 per cent” of respondents opposed the policy; “19 per cent” neither supported or opposed it; and “8 per cent” answered “don’t know”.

5. Upon receipt of the complaint from IPSO and on 21 June 2023, the publication offered to amend the online article to make clear that this claim related to the findings of the opinion poll: it was supported by 46% respondents overall and this represented a majority of those who expressed an opinion. It offered to publish the following correction in its Corrections and Clarification column and as a footnote to the online article:

“A feature on May 27 said that the Government’s Rwanda scheme was supported by the majority of the population. In fact, a recent poll by the More in Common think tank showed it was supported by 46% respondents overall, which represents a majority of those who expressed an opinion”.

6. The complainant, however, did not consider that the steps proposed by the publication were sufficient to resolve his complaint. He said that the proposal wording did not put the correct position on record: the poll did not find that a “majority” supported the policy. He proposed that the online article and corrections – online and in print – were amended to state that the policy enjoyed the support of a “relative majority of those surveyed”. These amendments were not accepted by the publication.

Relevant Clause 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.

Mediated Outcome

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

8. During IPSO’s investigation, the complainant said that the publication of the following correction, in the locations previously offered by the publication, would resolve the matter to his satisfaction:

An article on 27 May headlined “NOTHING LESS THAN A COUP IS TAKING PLACE IN BRITAIN” said that the Government’s Rwanda scheme enjoyed the “support of the majority of the population”. However, this was contrary to a recent poll by ‘More in Common’ which found that there was support from only a relative rather than a simple majority.

9. The publication agreed to publish the correction in order to resolve the complaint.

10. 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:  27/05/2023

Date complaint concluded by IPSO:  14/08/2023