Ruling

Resolution statement 19431-17 Prakodwong v metro.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      25th January 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy

Resolution statement – 19431-17 Prakodwong v metro.co.uk

Statement of Complaint

1. Peter Prakodwong complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that metro.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Woman filmed stripping and injecting herself on stranger’s doorstep”, published on 24 October 2017.

2. The article reported that the complainant’s automatic security camera had captured “a woman taking all her clothes off before appearing to inject herself with heroin”, outside his front door. It said that following the incident, an alert was sent to the complainant’s mobile phone; he then “raced home, but the woman had already left the scene”. The article reported that the complainant then “shamed” the woman by making posters with her half-naked photograph on them, and placing them around his building. It claimed that after reporting the incident to the council, he was told to get rid of the footage and cameras. The article included an image of the exterior of the complainant’s building, which made reference to the complainant’s road name.

3. The complainant said that he did not “race home” once he was alerted to the video footage, as he returned home around 36 hours later; and that the council did not tell him to destroy the footage. Rather, the housing trust had asked him to remove his surveillance camera. The complainant also said that the article had intruded into his private life because it identified his address.

4. The publication said that the complainant had approached the news agency with the story, and that the information included in the article was taken from this correspondence. It said that as such, it was not necessary to contact the complainant for his comment, prior to publication. Furthermore, the publication did not accept that the article contained any significant inaccuracies. It said that any minor errors within the article were due to a slight misreading of the agency copy, and noted that it had amended the article in order to address the complainant’s concerns under Clause 1.

5. The publication said that the publication of an image of the exterior of the complainant’s building, taken from Google Earth, did not amount to a breach of Clause 2. It noted that the complainant had provided his road name to the news agency, prior to publication, and had not requested for this information to be omitted.   

Relevant Code Provisions

6. 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.

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. In considering an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information and the extent to which the material complained about is already in the public domain or will become so.

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

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 publication removed the image of the exterior of the complainant’s building; amended the article to make clear that the complainant did not “race home”; and amended the article to make clear that the housing trust had asked him to remove his cameras.

9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

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: 26/10/2017

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 09/01/2018