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Father loses complaint over daily’s story about baby’s inquest

NewIPSOA father who believed a regional daily needed his consent to publish a story about his baby daughter’s inquest has had his complaint rejected by the press watchdog.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has thrown out a complaint made by Jacob Oakley against the Liverpool Echo after it covered an inquest into the death of his daughter.

Mr Oakley claimed he had withdrawn his consent for the Echo to run stories about him after he contacted the newspaper about a previous piece it had run.

However, IPSO found there was no requirement for the echo to seek permission from Mr Oakley or his family to cover the inquest.

Complaining under Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock), and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Mr Oakley said he had been harassed with messages and threats from members of the public which he considered were due to the Echo’s story.

He added the reporter’s name was not present on the list of people who had attended the inquest virtually, and he considered that this amounted to him being “spied on”.

In response, the Echo expressed its sympathy to the complainant for the harassment he had received from members of the public, but said that Clause 3 related to the behaviour of journalists and not members of the public.

The paper accepted Mr Oakley had asked for no further articles to be published but said that publications do not require consent to publish stories regarding public inquests.

While IPSO understood that it was upsetting for Mr Oakley and his family, it noted that the information included in the story had been made public at the inquest, and the Echo was, therefore, entitled to report on the information heard.

As the information was in the public domain, there was no requirement for the Echo to seek permission from the complainant or his family to publish it.

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