By James Simons-
Edinburgh Live, an online publication, has issued an apology and retraction after the UK press regulator criticized them for erroneously referring to a dead man without children as a dad.
Mr. Steven Carrie,(pictured) who tragically passed away two years ago, was wrongly described as a ‘dad’ in an article.
The error came to light following a complaint filed with the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) by Mr. Carrie’s family.
The article, titled “Young West Lothian Dad Collapsed and dies suddenly in family holiday tragedy,” was published on March 29, 2023, detailing the installation of a defibrillator by the Carrie family in Mr. Carrie’s memory.
However, the headline and text inaccurately described Mr. Carrie as a father, a fact disputed by his family.
The mistake caused significant distress and upset to the family, prompting them to lodge a formal complaint with IPSO.
IPSO found the publication in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The Code emphasizes the importance of accurate and responsible reporting, especially in cases involving sensitive topics like death.
The mistake in this case was regarded as a failure to take adequate care to ensure the information was correct.
In response to the complaint, Edinburgh Live swiftly acknowledged the inaccuracy, removed the article, and issued a standalone correction.
The correction clarified that Mr. Carrie was not a father and apologized for any distress caused.
While the Committee recognized the distress the inaccuracy had caused, it found that the publication had acted promptly and prominently in addressing the error, thus meeting the requirements of Clause 1 (ii).
However, the family was dissatisfied with the resolution, seeking a private apology and acknowledgment that the publication had altered the original article’s purpose.
Although the Committee understood the family’s concerns regarding the article’s tone and purpose, it concluded that there was no breach of Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) in this instance.
IPSO recognized the distressing nature of the inaccuracy but did not find it insensitive enough to breach the Code.
Upholding journalistic integrity and adhering to ethical reporting practices is paramount, ensuring the trust and respect of both the affected families and the wider public.
Image: Gwen Carrie