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Patient urged weekly to carry story – then complained about it

IPSO_logo_newA hospital patient who urged a weekly newspaper to highlight the issue of operation cancellations complained after being quoted in a story on the matter.

Hayley Bankowski complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation complained after the Cambrian News ran an article on Aberystwyth’s Bronglais Hospital being forced to cancel operations.

She had sent a message to the newspaper via Facebook to request its assistance with getting answers from the hospital about the status of her operation, which had been cancelled twice.

But by the time an article was published, her operation had taken place.

Ms Bankowski complained to IPSO Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

She said she had received a reply acknowledging her Facebook message, but she was not informed of the newspaper’s intention to name and quote her in the article.

Had the newspaper contacted her, she said she would have explained that, while she was happy to be quoted, she did not wish to be named.

The News provided the message that the complainant had sent in which she had asked whether it “as a paper” would be able to “get more answers” from the hospital. The newspaper replied saying that the message had been passed to the news editor.

On receipt of the complainant’s request for assistance, the newspaper took the matter up with the health board; it was then able to run the story.

As far as the newspaper was concerned, the complainant had raised valid points that she wanted to be made public, and it was therefore surprised that the article had given her cause to complain. To resolve the complaint, it offered to run a clarification to make clear that the complainant had since had her operation.

IPSO found the complainant had voluntarily given the information contained in the article to the News, and there was no reason for the newspaper to believe that it was not for publication after making the complainant aware that the news desk was looking at it.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.

Other recent IPSO cases involving regional newspapers include:

Faqiri v Birmingham Mail

Hamad Faqiri complained the Birmingham Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy)in an article which reported that a fish bar had been fined £535 after a mouse infestation was discovered at the premises, run under the headline ‘Customer found mouse droppings in fish and chips’.

The complainant said that the headline and article were inaccurate because it had not been proven in court that mouse droppings were found in the customer’s food, rather that it was a claim made by a customer to environmental health officials.

The Mail accepted that it was an allegation, rather than proven fact.

However, it said that because it had been established in court that food droppings had been found in food storage and preparation areas, and because the complainant had been fined £535 after conviction, it did not believe the headline and article were significantly misleading.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.

Howells v South Wales Argus and Howells v Pontypool Free Press

Gareth Howells of Up and Under Travel complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the South Wales Argus breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) in similar articles in which a mother claimed the company could no longer take her epileptic daughter to school becuase she was “too disabled”.

Mr Howells said he was not aware of the article until it had been published, and said that the newspaper failed to contact the local council prior to publication.

Both newspapers said they had made multiple phone calls to Up and Under.

After publication of the article, the Free Press said that the complainant called the news desk requesting an apology and a retraction, but refused to comment on the story, instead referring the reporter to the local authority.

A local authority spokesman told the reporter it would be unlikely to comment as the article was about a dispute between the family and private company.

The newspaper said that the article made clear that it was reporting the comments of the 19-year-old’s mother, and did not present her claims as facts. After publication of the article, it offered the complainant the opportunity to reply.

Neither complaint was upheld, and the full adjudications can be found here.


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  • May 23, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Everything you post on Facebook is secret; everyone knows that.

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