Yesterday, the press complaints body IPSO ruled that the Telegraph had published inaccurate information in its front-page story “Sturgeon’s secret backing for Cameron”, but by way of a correction, only required the paper to publish a tiny note at the foot of its front-page.
In its ruling, IPSO upheld the complaint that the Telegraph had breached Clause 1 (accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice – a set of voluntary guidelines written by Editors themselves – regarding the story printed on 4th April 2015, just weeks before the General Election.
The story said that in a private meeting with the French Ambassador, Nicola Sturgeon had said that she would rather see David Cameron win the general election than Ed Miliband.
A comment from Ms Sturgeon on her preferred future Prime Minister during an election campaign would have always been a matter of outstanding public interest, and for the Telegraph to have misled the public over a matter such as this, four weeks before the election and as their lead front-page story, was potentially a very damaging deception of its readership and the wider public who saw the story.
However, rather than publishing the correction itself on the front page, something that could be truly called “due prominence” IPSO only required a tiny note at the foot of the front-page directing readers to read the actual correction on page 2, and even then tucked away in the corner. It is absurd to call that tiny note, which is itself smaller than the photo of Sturgeon next to the article, “due prominence.”
The same lack of prominence was true online. When it was published the original article was featured as the main article on the Telegraph’s website.
However the correction was placed right at the bottom of the website, at the bottom of its “hot topics” section. You have to scroll down three screens to even see it at all!
This failure to follow Leveson’s calls for “due prominence,” particularly on a matter of great public interest, once again shows that IPSO is no better than the failed PCC.