Bullshit response from Press complaints body over father smears

Dear Mr Harris

Further to our complaint, which we will deal with in due course. We now seek, under a Freedom of Information request, how many members of Britain's law society's operate inside IPSO's offices. We also would state much of the evidence we supplied has NOT been addressed and will raise this matter once we have our FOI request dealt with.

You have 20 working days to respond.

--------------------------------------

IPSO RESPONSE

I write further to our earlier email regarding your complaint about an article headlined “Dangerous fugitive who kidnapped his kids says he WON'T hand himself in”, published by dailyrecord.co.uk on 05 January 2019.

On receipt of a complaint, IPSO’s Executive staff reviews it to ensure that the issues raised fall within our remit, and represent a possible breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The Executive has now completed an assessment of your complaint.

You said that this article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) because it used the phrase “dangerous fugitive” to describe Andreas Garifalou.

IPSO is able to consider complaints from an individual who has been personally and directly affected by the alleged breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice; complaints from a representative group affected by an alleged breach where there is a substantial public interest; and complaints from third parties about accuracy. In the case of third party complaints, we do need to consider the position of the party most closely involved.

In this case, the Executive took the view that the alleged inaccuracy related directly to the Mr Garifalou. It would be for him to make a complaint if they felt he had been misrepresented. This was in part because any investigation by IPSO might require an understanding of Mr Garifalou’s position in relation to the accuracy of the article and the allegations made against him, and might result in the publication of information about Mr Garifalou, which might not be appropriate without his consent. Because of this, we declined to consider this aspect of your complaint further.

You also said that the article breached Clause 2 (Privacy) because it named Mr Garifalou, which you said intruded into his and his children’s privacy. You also said that the article breached Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief and shock), because the article harassed Mr Garifalou and because you said he might be suffering from PTSD. In this case the party directly affected by the alleged breach of these clauses was Mr Garifalou and his family. As you are not complaining on their behalf as an authorised representative, we were not able to consider these aspects of your complaint further.

You also said that the article breached Clause 12 (Discrimination) because it was biased against fathers. The terms of Clause 12 state that “the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”. We did not consider that the article made any reference to one of these categories and therefore Clause 12 was not engaged. Further, if Mr Garifalou felt that he had been discriminated against, it would be for him to make a complaint to us.

You should also note that the Editors’ Code of Practice doesn’t address issues of bias. It makes clear the press has the right to be partisan, to give its own opinion and to campaign, as long as it takes care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information. In this instance, you have not identified any significant inaccuracies within the article. Because of this, your complaint that the article was “biased” did not raise a possible breach of Clause 12.

You are entitled to request that the Executive’s decision not to take forward your complaint be reviewed by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. To do so you will need to write to us in the next seven days, setting out the reasons why you believe the decision should be reviewed. Please note that we are unable to accept requests for review made seven days after the date of this email.

We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider the points you have raised.

Best wishes,

Jonathan Harris
Complaints Officer IPSO