A breach - but it wasn’t all bad

Some adjudications don’t tell the full story


Adjudications like this one are an important part of a newspaper’s commitment to press regulation.

They are delivered by a panel of independent experts known as Ipso’s Complaints Committee whose role it is to examine evidence on both sides and rule for against.

But in isolation, such adjudications don’t always tell the full story. And this one is a case in point.

It’s usual for those complaining about a story to allege more than one breach of the Editors’ Code, a set of rules to which we have agreed to be bound and against which all complaints are judged.

In this case, Mr Ross alleged several breaches, on Clause 1 of the Code which deals with issues of accuracy along with others involving Clause 2, which concerns privacy.

While they ruled against the JC on a point of accuracy we noted here, and criticised us for our failure to offer a correction at the time, on the others, they took a different view.  

For example, members were satisfied it was not significantly misleading for us to report correspondence stating the complainant was “supportive” of the idea put forward by branch members to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the publication of the EHRC report and suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.

They ruled similarly over a suggestion that it was inaccurate to report that correspondence shared by him had been written on “official Labour Party-headed paper” when we’d included an image of it on Labour’s own clearly-branded “Organise” platform.  

Another complaint that we had irresponsibly failed to contact him before publication was rejected, partly because there was no requirement to do so in these particular circumstances and we had, properly, already contacted the Labour Party for comment.

Then there was an issue of privacy with regard to reporting comments made in correspondence to members of the St Michael’s branch. We argued that this wasn’t a private matter, given it was done in his official capacity and that it was circulated to 500 recipients, many of whom were, as the Committee accepted, “political associates”.

We were again accused of breaching the Code’s privacy clause by sharing his e-mail address. We argued the same criteria applied and the Committee again agreed.

There was also a suggestion that we had been guilty of a data protection breach but such a matter was outside the parameters of Code and the Committee made no ruling.

So, having ruled against the JC on the initial point of accuracy, it then devoted 508 words to five other points we had contested, dismissing one after the other before reaching the overarching conclusion: “The complaint was upheld in part under Clause 1”.

(And, in the interests of full compliance - the italics are mine).

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