Ruling

Resolution Statement – 21032-23 Collins v Mail Online

  • Complaint Summary

    Sabrina Collins complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “British woman explains why she hates Australia and wants to leave as soon as she can: 'Worst country on earth'”, published on 27 September 2023.

    • Date complaint received

      21st December 2023

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement – 21032-23 Collins v Mail Online


Summary of Complaint

1. Sabrina Collins complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “British woman explains why she hates Australia and wants to leave as soon as she can: 'Worst country on earth'”, published on 27 September 2023.

2. The article reported on a video which had been published on social media by the complainant, in which she explained the reasons she did not enjoy living in Australia. Both the headline and text of the article contained the phrase “worst country on earth” in quotation marks, and the text directly attributed this phrase to the complainant.

3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. She denied ever saying that Australia was the “worst country on earth”. She said that while she had published a video, a separate account not controlled by her had edited the phrase onto the video, and she had never used that phrase.

4. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. It accepted that the caption which stated Australia was the “worst country on earth” had been added by a different user – however it said as the complainant had an arrangement which allowed the second user to repost her videos, it considered her complicit in the publication of the quote. It also said that the quote appeared to be an accurate summary of her views in the video, which were highly critical of Australia.

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

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

6. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to delete the article.

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

8. 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: 30/09/2023

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 01/12/2023