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Woman goes to press watchdog over coronavirus story

NewIPSOA woman complained to the press watchdog after a regional daily reported her father was suffering from suspected coronavirus.

Chloe Longstaff went to the Independent Press Standards Organisation after the Bradford Telegraph & Argus covered an unofficial wedding ceremony between her dying dad and his partner.

The story, which did not name her father, described him as having “a number of medical problems as well as suspected Covid-19”.

It described the ceremony and stated that his fiancée was wearing full personal protective equipment, as well as a quote from the hospital chaplain saying that they were all wearing PPE.

Complaining under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Ms Longstaff said her father had been tested for Covid-19 and had received negative test results.

She also said it was inaccurate to report those involved had been wearing full PPE, as she had been on a video call during the ceremony, and provided a photograph of them in the hospital without full PPE on.

Denying a breach of Code, the Telegraph & Argus said it had taken care over the publication of the article, and the source of its information had been an article written by the BBC.

It said this article had also described the man as having “suspected Covid-19” and that the ceremony had taken place in full PPE.

After Ms Longstaff complained to IPSO, the T&A offered to publish the following clarification: “After this story was published the patient’s daughter got in touch to say her father tested negative for Covid-19.

“She also asked us to point out that her father did not wear full PPE during the ceremony.”

This resolved the matter to Ms Longstaff’s satisfaction and IPSO discontinued its investigation.

The full resolution statement can be read here.

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.