Category Archives: Editors’ Code

No rebuke for paper that linked Jamelia to killer

IPSO rejected a complaint from pop star Jamelia after she was named in a newspaper report about her estranged step-brother, who was convicted of murder. The Editor’s Code says relatives of criminals should not normally be identified unless relevant. The paper said there was a public interest because the killer was only the second person in the UK to stand trial under a pseudonym. Significantly, he named the star in his application for reporting restrictions, saying the case was receiving heavy media coverage because she was a “close relation”. Read more here.

Tories pass off faked video as ‘satire’

Dishonesty online is being passed off as satire and humour by political parties and activists responsible for fake videos and websites, says Alastair Reid of First Draft News in an article published by journalism.co.uk. That’s his response to a video faked by the Conservative Party and then published on its official Twitter account, falsely showing Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary unable to answer a question on TV. The BBC’s Andrew Neil had to apologise for sharing a manipulated video of an SNP politician during the 2019 general election. Facebook subsequently said it would ban some deepfake political videos – but not all. It’s a hazard for journalists who need to be wary of being taken in, as happened with a fake website for US election contender Joe Biden. It’s also of interest because satire can be used as a defence in a defamation case.

Read the article here.
See Twitter reaction here.

IPSO boss: self regulation vital to press freedom

A voluntary system of press regulators, set up by the industry itself, was criticised as “the press marking their own papers” in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. But outcoming regulator Sir Alan Moses told a media freedom conference: “Voluntary self-regulation is the only way that freedom of expression may safely and reliably be preserved.” The alternative – state control – creates a risk of a government controlling what the public know or using unregulated social media to create confusion.

The speech described the workings of the Independent Press Standards Organisation and  the guidance it gives on issues such as reporting suicide and transgender issues.

Read a transcript here.

See Sir Alan speaking on the same theme at another conference (starts at 9.40):

Ethics of reporting terror: don’t glamorise killers

Emily Bell, one of the world’s most highly respected commentators on media, has written a post for the Columbia Journalism Review that draws together strands of important thinking on the dilemmas involved in terrorism fed by social media, and the emerging wisdom on the ethics involved for mainstream media in following it. Messages include: “Do not report facts until they are verified, do not focus on the perpetrator over the victims, do not use sensational language that might glamorize the terrorist.” Read it here (and find many more internationally-focused articles on the media in the same place).

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Nuzzling MP wins IPSO ruling over pics in Sun

A former MP complained of breach of privacy after The Sun published photographs of him allegedly “nuzzling” his face in a friend’s breasts. The Independent Press Standards Organisation found in favour of the MP on privacy grounds, saying there was no public interest justification. A further complaint on grounds of accuracy was not upheld. Press Gazette’s account of the saga shows the reasoning behind the ruling. Read it here.