John McHale complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Milton Keynes Citizen breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in the piece, which was published in January last year.
Mr McHale said the Citizen had incorrectly reported the date his son had been found, did not report in sufficient detail exactly how his son had died, and misrepresented the nature of the comments. He also said that his name had been misspelled in the article.
He added hat he had been contacted by journalists at what was a very difficult time for him and his family, and expressed concern that the article had both named the business he ran and accessed comments he had made on Facebook without his consent.
The Citizen did not accept that the copy included any significant inaccuracies and said the only contact had been when a journalist had called the complainant and contacted him on social media in order to obtain a tribute to his son.
The newspaper offered to amend the points in the article the complainant was concerned about, and to publish a footnote online recording the changes, and apologising for any upset caused.
IPSO launched an investigation into the matter but, following further correspondence, the Citizen offered to meet with the complainant to discuss his experiences and publishing an article about these.
Mr McHale said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction, and so IPSO did not make an adjudication on whether a breach of Code had been made.
The full resolution statement can be read here.