Ruling

Resolution Statement 19499-17 Cornford v Bexhill Observer

    • Date complaint received

      21st December 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 19499-17 Cornford v Bexhill Observer

Summary of complaint

1. Caroline Cornford complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Bexhill Observer had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) in an article headlined, “Support for those who have diabetes” published on 13 October 2017 in print and online.

2. The article reported on a meeting of the Bexhill Diabetes Support Group (BDSG). It described the aims of the group, included its contact details, and noted that it was set up in 2011 as an “independent” group. It included a photo of a woman and child in front of a Diabetes UK poster, wearing Diabetes UK t-shirts and holding information relating to Diabetes UK.

3. The complainant said that it was inaccurate for the article to have included this photo. The photo depicted the complainant and her daughter campaigning for Diabetes UK, which has no association with BDSG. Neither the complainant nor her daughter have any connection to BDSG. The complainant said that the inclusion of the photo gave the misleading impression that that she and her daughter were associated with the BDSG and that BDSG was associated with Diabetes UK.

4. The newspaper apologised to the complainant and said that the inclusion of the photo represented a significant inaccuracy, and removed the online article. It said that the photo was a library photo and admitted that more care should have been taken in its inclusion. The newspaper offered to publish a correction and apology on page 2 of its print copy and online, with wording to be agreed by the complainant. It also initiated a review into the use of library photographs.

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.

Mediated outcome

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

9. Following IPSO’s investigation, the newspaper offered to publish the following correction on page 2 of its print edition, and online:

An article headlined 'Support for those who have diabetes' (Bexhill Observer, October 13) was incorrectly illustrated with a photograph of Caroline Cornford and her daughter. We are pleased to make clear that neither Mrs Cornford nor her Daughter have any connection with Bexhill Diabetes Support Group. They had been photographed on a previous occasion promoting Diabetes UK. The photograph should not have been published alongside this article and we apologise to them for any embarrassment unintentionally caused by our error.  The Bexhill diabetes group is unconnected with Diabetes UK and is an independent group. If anyone wants to fundraise for Diabetes UK they can contact this group: http://www.bexhillfundraisersfordiabetesuk.co.uk/ or contact Diabetes UK direct.

10. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.

11. 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: 30/10/17
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 08/12/17