Ruling

19455-23 Hancock v The Daily Telegraph

  • Complaint Summary

    Matt Hancock complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Hancock rejected Whitty’s advice on care home tests / Hancock was repeatedly warned that care homes were a problem”, published on 1 March 2023.

    • Date complaint received

      19th June 2024

    • Outcome

      No breach - after investigation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Decision of the Complaints Committee – 19455-23 Hancock v The Daily Telegraph


Summary of Complaint 

1. Matt Hancock complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Hancock rejected Whitty’s advice on care home tests / Hancock was repeatedly warned that care homes were a problem”, published on 1 March 2023.

2. The article – which appeared on the front page and continued on page three – reported that the complainant “rejected the Chief Medical Officer’s advice to test all residents going into English care homes for Covid, leaked messages seen by The Daily Telegraph reveal.” It stated that: “Prof Sir Chris Whitty told the then health secretary early in April 2020, about a month into the pandemic, that there should be testing for ‘all going into care homes’. But Mr Hancock did not follow that guidance, telling his advisers that it ‘muddies the waters’”.

3. The article further reported that the “WhatsApp messages expose how, as early as April 2020, Sir Chris warned there should be ‘testing of all going into care homes’”. The article also set out a conversation between the complainant and his aide:

“The comments about care home testing by the Chief Medical Officer were discussed on April 14 2020, the day before the Government published its ’Covid-19: adult social care action plan’ – a document that set out to fix some of the problems created by the Government at the start of the pandemic.

In a WhatsApp conversation about its finer details, Mr Hancock told his advisers: ‘Chris Whitty has done an evidence review and now recommend testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result. This is obviously a good positive step & we must put into the doc.’ One of his aides, [named individual], responded that he had sent the request ‘to action’. But by the end of the day, Mr Hancock appeared to have changed his mind – and he requested the removal of the commitment to begin testing admissions from the community.

At 6.23pm, [the aide] sent a message saying: ‘Just to check: officials are saying your steer is to *remove* the commitment to testing on admission to care homes *from the community*, but *keep* commitment to testing on admission to care homes *from hospital*. Is that right?’

Twenty-five minutes later, [the aide] messaged again: ‘Update: we can say in the doc that it’s our ambition to test everyone going into a care home from the community where care homes want (‘in the comings weeks’ is the suggested timeframe I’ve been told).’

Mr Hancock responded: ‘Tell me if I’m wrong but I would rather leave it out and just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital. I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters.’

When the Government published its official guidance to care homes in England the following day, it said it would start testing all ‘those being discharged [into care homes] from hospital’ – but only that it would ‘move to’ testing people being admitted to care homes from the community.”

4. The article also reported that “Mr Hancock said in his book ‘Pandemic Diaries’ that the ‘tragic but honest truth’ at the start of April was that ‘we don’t have enough testing capacity’”.

5. The article also appeared online in substantially the same form, under the headline, “The Lockdown Files: Matt Hancock rejected expert advice on care home testing, WhatsApp messages reveal”. This version of the article was published on 28 February 2023, and was accompanied by a sub-heading which read: “Huge leak reveal conversations from 100,000 texts, showing how then health secretary did not follow Sir Chris Whitty’s tough line”. 

6. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 as it reported that he had “rejected” the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO’s) advice. He said that he had not rejected the CMO’s advice. Rather, due to testing capacity, the advice could not be operationalised, and as a result the scientific advice had changed throughout 14 April 2020. The complainant said that the publication’s investigation and subsequent article was sourced from partial material – his WhatsApp messages – and had not taken into account other evidence, such as meeting minutes and policy papers. The complainant said that the WhatsApp chats which formed the basis of the article were informal communications and decisions were made through official channels. 

7. The complainant said the article’s claim that “WhatsApp messages expose how, as early as April 2020, [the CMO] warned there should be "’testing of all going into care homes"’' omitted to refer to the fact that there was a subsequent meeting with the CMO after this warning had been given. He said that, during this meeting, it was decided that testing all of those who were entering care homes would be the wrong thing to do as it couldn't be operationalised – the country did not have the capacity to test this many individuals at the time. The complainant said that this meeting was summarised in a follow-up email which set out the CMO’s updated advice. He said this email was sent after the initial WhatsApp messages in which he had welcomed the advice first given by the Chief Medical Officer, and before the messages in which he had accepted the updated advice from the CMO. Therefore, he said, this was important context which as it was omitted from the article, rendered it inaccurate. He said that this email had since been submitted to the UK’s Covid-19 Inquiry in evidence; this meant it was due to enter the public domain.

8. The complainant said that the follow-up email was referred to by the Health Minister in Parliament on the day of the print article’s publication. The complainant provided an excerpt of the speech:

“….And actually clearly while there were discussions and debates between ministers and between colleagues which took place in part on WhatsApp, there were clearly meetings and conversations and other forums in which advice was given and decisions made, and a huge quantity of that is with the public inquiry, but I can say to, for instance that a meeting to discuss the implementation of the advice on testing was not referenced in the WhatsApp messages that she [the journalist] is talking about, but for instance there is an email following exactly this exchange that she is referring to that says ‘we can press straight away, we can press ahead straight away with hospitals testing patients who are going to care homes and we should aspire to as soon as capacity allows and when we have worked out an operational way of delivering this that everyone going into a care home from the community could be tested’. So as I say to her, there is very selective information that she is basing her comments on.”

9. The complainant also said that the newspaper breached Clause 1 (iii), as he had not been approached for comment prior to the article’s publication. He said this meant he was unable to dispute the article’s claim that he had rejected scientific advice, or provide accurate information. He said his office had only been alerted to the story after another newspaper had contacted it, and subsequent attempts to contact the journalist were ignored. 

10. The complainant acknowledged that the publication had published a statement from his spokesperson in a different article headlined “Hancock's 'rearguard action' to shut down schools” which was published on 2 March. This said:

“Mr Hancock said that he had already handed his WhatsApp messages to the inquiry and accused the Telegraph of publishing selective leaks. In a statement, his spokesman said: ‘It is outrageous that this distorted account of the pandemic is being pushed with partial leaks, spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives if followed. What the messages do show is a lot of people working hard to save lives.’ The spokesman added: ‘The story spun on care homes is completely wrong. What the messages show is that Mr Hancock pushed for testing of those going into care homes when that testing was available. Instead of spinning and leaks, we need the full, comprehensive inquiry, to ensure we are as well prepared as we can be for the next pandemic, whenever it comes.’"

11. The complainant said that the publication of the above statement was not sufficient to resolve his concerns. It had not been sourced directly from him or his office, but rather was taken from a statement he had issued in response to the article. He said he required an apology and a correction, matching the size and prominence of the online and print articles.

12. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. Regarding the article’s claim that the complainant had rejected the CMO’s advice, the publication said that the basis for this claim was made clear by the text of the article itself. The article reported that, on 14 April 2020, the complainant sent a message to his advisers saying the CMO “has done an evidence review and now recommend testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result. This is obviously a good positive step & we must put into the doc”. The publication understood the reference to the “doc” to be a reference to the Government’s “Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care action plan”, which was subsequently published on 15 April. 

13. The publication noted that the article also set out the response to this message from the complainant’s aide: “I wasn’t in testing mtg. Just to check: officials are saying your steer is to *remove* the commitment to testing on admission to care homes *from the community*, but *keep* commitment to testing on admission to care homes *from hospital*. Is that right?”. It said this was followed by another message from the aide which said: “Update: we can say in the doc that it’s our ambition to test everyone going into a care home from the community where care homes want (‘in the comings weeks’ is the suggested timeframe I’ve been told)”. The complainant then said: “Tell me if I’m wrong but I would rather leave it out and just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital. I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters”. The publication said that, the following day, the action plan was published and contained no commitment to test people being admitted into care homes from the community.

14. The publication said the complainant did not dispute that he had sent and received the above referenced messages, which it said showed that the CMO’s advice was rejected; this was clear from the messages. The publication said the complainant had not suggested that the CMO changed his view that the evidence showed that there should be “testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result”. Rather, it said it appeared his position was that the CMO was present at a subsequent meeting at which it was decided that the advice was not practicable. 

15. The publication asserted that the article did not suggest the complainant rejected the CMO’s advice out of malice or spite, and that reasonable readers would understand that he would be balancing competing policy considerations. It said this did not make the word “rejected” inaccurate: The advice the complainant referred to – namely, the fact that the testing could not be operationalised due to limited testing capacity – was not “scientific advice” as that term would be generally understood, but advice about the logistical challenge of implementing the actual scientific advice. The publication said the scientific advice was that there should be testing of all patients, but the complainant – who was, at the time, the Secretary of State for Health and ultimately responsible for decision making – rejected that because it was not practicable to do. The publication said that it was not, as the complainant suggested, that the CMO’s view of the science had changed, and that it was no longer considered necessary to test people entering into care homes from the community.

The publication said the article also made clear the complainant’s reasoning for rejecting the advice: “Mr Hancock said in his book, Pandemic Diaries, that the ‘tragic but honest truth’ at the start of April was that ‘we don’t have enough testing capacity‘”. The publication also said that, in taking care over the accuracy of the article, it had regard for other information outside of the messages themselves. For instance, it said it had noted the contents of the complainant’s book – and the reasoning he gave in the book for why he had not taken forward the advice – as well as evidence given to Parliament committees on care homes and testing, and comments made by members of the government at the time these decisions were being made. 

16. The publication said that the complainant had incorrectly applied the terms of Clause 1 (iii) to his complaint. It said that that this portion of the Code provides individuals with the opportunity to reply to inaccuracies post-publication. It does not extend to giving individuals pre-publication right of reply. It said that, in any event, there is no regulatory or legal obligation to seek a response to matters contained in an article prior to publication. It said a pre-publication approach to the complainant for comment was unnecessary as the WhatsApp messages “spoke for themselves”. In addition, it said it included the complainant’s reasons for rejecting the advice, as set out in his book. 

17. The complainant, in his response to the publication’s position, highlighted a WhatsApp message he sent on 8 April 2020. This said: “I'm up for this and the capacity to do this is growing fast”. He said this made his intentions clear in regard to testing: he wanted to do it, capacity allowing. He said the publication had access to this message and, therefore, had the opportunity to highlight messages to offer insight into his actual view.  

18. The complainant also highlighted that the CMO had since stated while giving evidence at the Covid-19 Inquiry: “In every pandemic, every epidemic, the ability to diagnose, for example, is essential and we had a very good capacity to do a very small amount of diagnoses really quickly, and we did not have the ability to scale up, and I could repeat that across multiple other domains.” He said this supported his position that the scientific advice was that there was not the testing capacity to test all of those going into care homes in April 2020.

19. The complainant also provided a timeline setting out the events of 14 April – the day on which the WhatsApp messages were sent. He said that this illustrated that, while the messages were being exchanged, there were additional meetings taking place during which the care homes testing policy was discussed.

20. During IPSO’s investigation, once the Covid Inquiry began, the complainant highlighted an email which was sent by a staff member at the Department of Health and Social Care [DHSC] at 6:49pm on the day during which his messages had been sent. He said that this email summarised a meeting which had taken place after his first messages. The email summarising the meeting said:

“Dear all

I have just talked to [named individual] in SofS [Secretary of State] office about this, informed by a meeting with PHE [Public Health England], CQC [Care Quality Commission], NHS England and others from testing world on how we operationalise this. 

We agreed:

We can press ahead straight away with hospitals testing patients who are going to care homes.

We should aspire to, as soon as capacity allows (and we have worked out an operational way of delivering this), that everyone going into a care home from the community could be tested. We think the numbers on this are under 8,000 a month.

It's really important that we keep this aspiration in, as we need to build care home confidence that we are doing our best to help them keep their residents safe - and this will be an important part of it. 

This was also the advice earlier today via CMO.”

21. The complainant also provided further emails which were sent on this date to support his position. These further emails were all sent prior to the above email. They included an email sent at 12:41pm from a staff member at the DHSC, the subject of which was “Meeting on Operationalising new policy on testing for care home residents”, it said:

“In light of the prevalence/ transmission of Covid in care homes, the CMO has asked us to move to a policy of:

- Testing all individuals before admission to a care home

- Testing all symptomatic residents in a care home 

This will be announced tomorrow as part of the social care action plan publication. Hitherto, local PHE health protection teams have been undertaking some measure of testing in care homes. But it is clear that there is insufficient capacity to do this at the scale now asked, and we will need to develop a different operational model to deliver this new ask. I don't know realistically what that is, but I am copying you all as people who might be able to help generate ideas, and help us access eg. community health, CQc, the testing community.... please can you set up a meeting this afternoon if possible of people on the copy list, or people they recommend... Suggested agenda

1. Scope of new testing ask

2. modelling numbers

3. options for operationalising

4. next steps”

22. Another email sent from another staff member at DHSC at 6:21pm said:

“Can we nail down the admissions stuff. My understanding was that we were going to move to all new admissions to care homes to be tested. Either way, can we make the top line: Health Secretary to offer testing for "everyone who needs one" in social care setting.

Then the three bullets should be

• All symptomatic care residents will be tested for COVID-19 as testing capacity continues to increase

• All new care home admissions will be tested as a matter of course/All patients discharged from hospital into care homes to be tested before as a matter of course

• Social Care staff to be next in line for frontline worker testing as CQC contacts all 30,000 care providers in the coming days to offer tests”

23. Another email sent from another staff member DHSC at 6:35pm said:

“Testing in care homes Secretary of State was clear just now: Testing all symptomatic care home residents — PHE capacity Testing all people discharged from hospital into care homes — NHSE capacity We need to think for the next phase about how we operationalise a next phase of testing all people being admitted to a care home from any location.”

24. To further support his argument, the complainant said that the then Chief Executive of NHS England during the early stages of the pandemic had said during the Covid Inquiry: "If you're going to have testing, how should you allocate a limited number of tests and I think the Secretary of State has said that he made that decision on 11th March, as to who would be prioritised and that did not include people being discharged into care homes. He did so on clinical advice but that was the decision he took." The complainant highlighted that it was claimed he acted “on clinical advice”. 

25. The complainant also provided a portion of the witness statement which he had submitted to the Covid inquiry:

“It has wrongly been claimed that I rejected clinical advice on care home testing. On the day in question, 14 April 2020, I welcomed new advice to test those going into care homes […]. The advice changed due to an inability to operationalise the original proposal, and I acted on this subsequent advice articulated through official government channels not over WhatsApp […]. The fact this all happened on one day shows how rapidly we were working to keep people safe, according to the best advice. To suggest otherwise is both misleading and untrue.”

26. The complainant also provided a transcript of the following exchange between himself and a barrister during the inquiry. He noted that he was under oath when the exchange occurred: 

Barrister: Subsequently -- and I don't want to go through the detail of them -- there were announcements about testing of symptomatic care home staff. 

Complainant: Yes.

Barrister: 15 April, there was an action plan for adult social care. There was an announcement on 28 April for asymptomatic staff and resident care homes for over-65s. Another announcement on 7 June, all about testing.

Complainant: Yes.

Barrister: Was the core point this: that whilst the government could announce a policy of testing, because, for the very reason you've identified, there was a shortage of testing, it could give no guarantees as to whether testing in reality would meet that aspiration? Out with your control, there may and were occasions -- or maybe many occasions -- when testing was not available due to the exigencies of the system, but that's nothing to do with the policy announced by government. Is that a fair summary?

Complainant: It's a little bit more complex than that, and if I might have the opportunity to set it out a little bit. The -- it is certainly true that, especially in a pandemic, if you make a policy decision at the centre then it takes time and it is sometimes uneven in how that is promulgated. That's true across all policy, especially when done at pace. Nevertheless, even having said that, the testing policies were -- that we put in place for adult social care were essentially based on clinical advice of what tests would be reliable and effective, combined with the operational advice of how many tests were available. So, for instance, there was a discussion on 14 April when clinical advice for the first time said: yes, you can test asymptomatic people and a negative test will be reliable; really important, apropos our earlier discussion. But then we combined that with the operational advice as to how many tests were available, by that stage around 35,000. And you can see, for instance in [DHSC email of 14 April, 6:49pm] that then the clinical advisers, in this case the CMO, came back and then signed off on and issued new advice as to what the policy should be for testing. policy was, what order of priority we used tests in, was based on clinical advice throughout.

Barrister: All right. That is understood, and nobody has suggested otherwise. The point I'm making is a different one, which is the DHSC, your clinical advisers, whoever it was who promulgated the policies, could not day in, day out, practically at residential care sector level –

Complainant: Yeah.

Barrister: -- guarantee everybody a test or practically make them available. This was an extremely complex, difficult system, and you could not ensure or guarantee that there would be tests available for everyone in accordance with the policy.

27. The publication reviewed the further material the complainant had provided and said that it was still satisfied that the article included no significant inaccuracies. It highlighted the aide’s message to the complainant where they said: “officials are saying your steer is to *remove* the commitment to testing on admission to care homes *from the community*”. It said the complainant’s own colleagues understood that the decision had been the complainant’s – this was clear by the reference to “your [the complainant’s] steer”, rather than a refence to this being Prof Whitty’s “steer”. 

28. The publication said that the complainant had not suggested that the CMO had changed his view but that he was present at a subsequent meeting at which it was decided his advice was not practicable. The publication noted that the complainant had provided no memo or other record of what was said and by whom at this meeting.

29. Turning to the speech made by the Health Minister in Parliament, the publication said that she had not said that scientific advice changed. In fact, it said she repeated the clinical advice given by the CMO that everyone going into care homes from the community should be tested. This, it noted, was the exact position set out in the article under complaint: there was advice, and the complainant had chosen not to put it into effect: “I would rather leave it out and just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital. I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters”.

30. In response to the complainant’s witness statement, the publication said that his statement did not say scientific advice changed. Rather, it said that he acted on subsequent advice that the initial scientific advice couldn’t be implemented for operational reasons. It said that the distinction between clinical and operational advice occurred again in the complainant’s exchanges in oral evidence with the barrister. The publication said it contradicted his mantra to the public that he was following scientific advice and throwing a protective ring around care homes. In this exchange, it said that the barrister was talking about the Chief Scientific Advisor’s frustration that clinical advice was being ignored in respect of the movement of persons between care homes. It said that the clinical advice in February 2020 was that movement between care homes was a significant issue and should be stopped. During this exchange, the complainant gave an insight into the difference between clinical advice and operational advice, a difference he appeared to acknowledge and accept.

31. In response to the oral evidence of the former Chief Executive of NHS England, the publication said that, while the complainant believed this showed that the clinical advice changed, it did not. It said it showed that once the decision was made to reject the CMO’s advice for operational reasons the complainant sought advice on how to allocate the tests. It said this did not support the complainant’s position that the clinical advice changed or that he did not reject the advice.

32. In response to the 6:49pm DHSC email, the publication said the advice referred to as having been received from the CMO was not advice that people entering care homes from the community should not be tested. Rather, it said the reference to Prof Whitty related to maintaining the ultimate goal to test all entering care homes. It said this email also showed that the scientific advice did not change, and that the CMO was clearly maintaining his scientific position that all entering care homes should be tested.

33. The complainant said that the publication’s understanding of this email was incorrect: the ultimate goal of testing all of those who entered care homes was not scientific advice. Rather, this was the line which would be taken for the purposes of external communications. He maintained that Prof Whitty’s advice at the time was that it was not possible to test all of those going into care homes and therefore they must limit the tests to people entering care homes from hospitals.  

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.

Findings of the Committee

34. The headline claim that the complainant “rejected” the Chief Medical Officer’s “advice on care home tests” was a serious one.As it considered whether this claim was supported by the text of the article, and whether it was otherwise significantly inaccurate or misleading, the Committee considered in detail the content of the full article; the material provided by the publication to substantiate this claim; and the material provided by the complainant which he said provided a more complete account of the events in question.

35. The Committee noted first that its consideration, and the publication’s handling of the story, were inevitably framed by the available evidence. Neither the Committee nor the publication had access to all the material relevant to the complainant’s considerations as to whether people entering care homes from the community should be tested – such as the precise advice Prof Whitty had given, or the minutes and summaries of meetings where testing and care homes were discussed. Some of this evidence was not available to the complainant, and some he was not at liberty to disclose, though he had been able to provide some emails and a number of documents which had entered into the public domain via the Covid Inquiry, and which the Committee therefore considered as part of its deliberations. 

36. Notwithstanding the difficulty both sides faced in providing supplementary and further information to support their positions, the Committee noted that the article reported on the contents of WhatsApp messages that had been exchanged between the complainant and his aides, the content of which was not in dispute by either party. It was clear from reading the article in conjunction with the headline that the headline claim was based on information gleaned from these WhatsApp messages: for instance, the article reported that that the complainant “rejected the Chief Medical Officer’s advice to test all residents going into English care homes for Covid, leaked messages seen by The Daily Telegraph reveal” [emphasis IPSO] before going on to reproduce the contents of these messages. Though the text of an article cannot be relied upon to correct an inaccurate or misleading headline, it can contextualise claims made in headlines and add supplementary information which aids the understanding of the headline in question. 

The Committee were of the view that the basis for the headline’s claim that the complainant had “reject[ed]” the scientific advice was clearly set out in the article. The article had expressly referenced and had published the relevant WhatsApp messages upon which this claim was based, which made clear the exchanges which had taken place between the complainant and his aides and allowed readers to interpret the content for themselves; it had also provided additional context about testing capacity at the time, which contextualised the complainant’s position on the issue.

37. The article quoted the WhatsApp messages in full, which gave an indication of the scientific advice which had been provided by the Chief Medical Officer and the complainant’s response, for instance ”‘Chris Whitty has done an evidence review and now recommend testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result. This is obviously a good positive step & we must put into the doc.’” and another which said: “‘Tell me if I’m wrong but I would rather leave it out and just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital. I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters’”. This response was sent following previous advice given by the Chief Medical Officer that all those going into care homes should be tested. The complainant appeared to be aware, therefore, that from a scientific perspective, it was the view of the CMO that all those entering care homes should be tested, including those entering from the community, and further that a public commitment should be made to implement this step, when operationally feasible, as part of the announcement. The Committee noted the complainant’s position that the advice that had been given by the Chief Medical Officer was not operationally achievable due to limited testing capacity and that his position was included in the article, which quoted his book ‘Pandemic Diaries’: Mr Hancock said in his book, ‘Pandemic Diaries’, that the ‘tragic but honest truth’ at the start of April was that ‘we don’t have enough testing capacity‘”. For these reasons, and given that the claim was clearly made by reference to the available WhatsApp messages which had been reproduced in the article, the Committee did not consider it inaccurate for the publication to characterise the complainant’s actions as rejecting the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, and the headline was supported by the article. There was no breach of Clause 1.

38. The Committee also considered whether the publication should have contacted the complainant prior to the publication of the article as part of the Code’s requirement to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information. The Committee noted that a right or reply or an obligation to contact the subject of the article prior to publication is not an explicit requirement of Clause 1, though this may be necessary as part of Clause 1(i)’s requirement to take care over the accuracy of the articles. However, where – as noted above – the article did not include any inaccurate, misleading, or distorted information, there was no case to answer under the terms of Clause 1 (i) in relation to the complainant not having been contacted prior to publication. There was no breach of Clause 1 (i) on this point.

39. The complainant said that the article breached Clause 1 (iii) as the publication had not approached him for comment and had also ignored his attempts to contact them prior to publication of the article. Clause 1 (iii) relates to the actions a newspaper should take following the publication of a significant inaccuracy, and says that a fair opportunity to reply to such inaccuracies should be given when reasonably called for. As the complainant’s concerns related to the fact that the publication had not contacted him prior to the article’s publication, rather than that they had not offered him an opportunity to reply to alleged significant inaccuracies post-publication, the Committee therefore considered that this sub-Clause was not engaged. 

Conclusions

40. The complaint was not upheld.

Remedial action required

41. N/A 


Date complaint received: 12/06/2023

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 09/05/2024


Independent Complaints Reviewer

The complainant complained to the Independent Complaints Reviewer about the process followed by IPSO in handling this complaint. The Independent Complaints Reviewer decided that the process was not flawed and did not uphold the request for review.