Standards / Complaints
Complaint decisions
608/2023 Laura Hitchcock and Dorset Eye
Publication: Dorset Eye
Date of complaint: July 19, 2023
Date of adjudication: August 24, 2023
Date complaint accepted: July 27, 2023
Relevant clauses: Attribution & Plagiarism 2.1 and 2.2 of the Impress Standards Code
Outcome:Complaint upheld. Breach of Clauses 2.1 and 2.2. Publisher to publish a notice statement and link to full adjudication.

Summary of Complaint

 1.1.  A complaint was made by Laura Hitchcock (“the Complainant”), editor of The BV Magazine, about the potential breach of Standards Code clauses 2.1 and 2.2 – Attribution & Plagiarism. The BV Magazine had published an article on 6 July 2023 titled Child Okeford’s most famous resident celebrates his 75th birthday, which was also published on its website on 9 July 2023.

1.2.  The Complainant later found that the article’s content had been reproduced with only minor editorial amendments on 12 July 2023 in a since deleted article in Dorset Eye (“the Publisher”) where it was titled Dorset’s most famous puppet turns seventy five. A link to this article was also shared in a post on Dorset Eye’s Facebook page on 12 July 2023 and has since been deleted.

1.3.  The complaint is assessed against the Impress Standards Code, the relevant clauses are:

        2.1. Publishers must take all reasonable steps to identify and credit the originator of any third-party content.

        2.2. Publishers must correct any failure to credit the originator of any third-party content with equal prominence at the earliest opportunity.

574/2023 Bob Seely and IW Observer
Publication: Isle of Wight Observer
Date of complaint: May 19, 2023
Date of adjudication: August 23, 2023
Date complaint accepted: June 15, 2023
Relevant clauses: Discrimination 4.1 of the Impress Standards Code
Outcome:Complaint dismissed. No breach of Code.

Summary of Complaint

1.1.  A complaint was made by Mr Bob Seely (“the Complainant”) about the potential breach of Impress Standards Code Clause 4.1 (Discrimination) in a letter written by a member of the public and published in IW Observer (“The Publisher”) on 31 March 2023 with the headline “Is our MP, OK?”.

1.2.  The Complainant is a directly affected party who is the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight. The letter complained of appeared in the ‘Island Soapbox’ column, which is a regular feature of IW Observer in which readers are invited to send their letters to the editor expressing opinions on topics of public interest. The letter complained of was attributed to T Smith of Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

1.3.  The Complaint is assessed against the Impress Standards Code. The relevant clause is:

 Clause 4.1 – Publishers must not make prejudicial or derogatory reference to anybody based on the following characteristics:

 (c) Health

570/2023 – A Complainant and The Stray Ferret
Publication: The Stray Ferret
Date of complaint: February 17, 2023
Date of adjudication: May 2, 2023
Date complaint accepted: February 23, 2023
Relevant clauses: Children 3.2 and Justice 6.2 of the Impress Standards Code (2020 version)
Outcome:Complaint upheld. Breach of Clauses 3.2 and 6.2. Publisher to remove a video and publish a short clarifying statement.

Summary of complaint

1.1. The Complainant is a lawyer (“the Complainant”) seeking either the removal of a video featured in a published article or the article in full, alleging a breach of Impress Standards Code Clauses 3 (Children) and 6 (Justice). The Complainant legally represents one of the subjects of the article, a young person involved in an incident occurring at a (…) in Harrogate on (…). The Complainant has confirmed to Impress that he is acting as an agent on behalf of the affected party and has been instructed by the young person’s parent to submit a complaint to Impress.

1.2. The Respondent is The Stray Ferret (“the Publisher”), a news website covering topics such as politics, business, health, and crime, which has been regulated by Impress since 17 March 2020.

1.3. The complaint concerns an article that first appeared in The Stray Ferret on 9 February 2023 with the headline Shocking video shows teenagers attacking police in Harrogate (…). A link to the article is also featured in a post published on the Publisher’s Facebook page on 10 February 2023.

1.4. The complaint is assessed against the 2020 version of the Impress Standards Code, which was the current version at the time the article appeared. The relevant clauses are:

Clause 3.2 – Except where there is an exceptional public interest, publishers must not identify a child under the age of 16 years without the consent of the child or a responsible adult unless this is relevant to the story and not detrimental to the safety and wellbeing of the child.

Clause 6.2 – Publishers must not directly or indirectly identify persons under the age of 18 who are or have been involved in criminal or family proceedings, except as permitted by law.