Telegraph forced to run IPSO ruling on ‘inaccurate’ Sturgeon story

Newspaper 'did not know' story was correct, but published as fact anyway


The Telegraph today has been forced to publish the ruling of a press watchdog that found its bombshell pre-election story about Nicola Sturgeon breached the editors’ code of practice.

It reports the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) decided the story, which claimed the SNP leader had said she would prefer David Cameron as prime minister, broke clause 1 (Accuracy) of the code.

It found that the newspaper did not know the account they received of the relevant meeting was correct, but published it as fact anyway.

The IPSO adjudication was reported on today’s front page in the ‘news in brief’ section at the foot of the page, and written up in full at the bottom of page 2.

The paper reports:

“The newspaper did not know whether the account contained in the memorandum was accurate. Nonetheless, it had published this as fact, without having taken additional steps prior to publication – such as contacting the parties involved for their comment – to verify its accuracy.

The committee established that the newspaper’s presentation of the account contained in the memorandum, in this context, represented a breach of the editors’ code.”

You can read the full Telegraph report here.

Matt Tee, chief executive of IPSO, said:

“Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code obliges the press to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information. This article was significantly misleading because the newspaper had failed to make clear that it did not know whether the account the memorandum presented was true.

A front-page story such as this needs to be corrected in a prominent way and we have required the Daily Telegraph to publish our adjudication in full on page 2 with a reference on the front page of the newspaper, which it did today.”

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Success! Telegraph apologises and runs correction after MediaWatch exposes false claim

Times runs ‘Labour’s £1,000 tax on families’ correction on front page after IPSO ruling

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7 Responses to “Telegraph forced to run IPSO ruling on ‘inaccurate’ Sturgeon story”

  1. Sean Garrity

    Shame IPSO didn’t publish this ruling before the polls closed at the election, perhaps if they did we would have a completely different tenant in No 10

  2. stevep

    It doesn`t matter now, it achieved it`s objective – scaring the electorate by running dubious stories before the election.
    A “free” press? Don`t make me laugh. It needs moderating and regulating. Implementing the leveson enquiry recommendations in full would be a start.

  3. Richard MacKinnon

    The best part of this story is still to be played out. It was Alistair Carmichael Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetlands (majority 600) that approved the leak of the memo in the run up to the GE. He was Secretary of State for Scotland at the time and denied all knowledge of the source of the leak. He has subsequently been forced to admit he authorised it.
    It is hard to believe the audacity of the man but he refuses to stand down as an MP. There is a group of his constituents that are at this time challenging there MP in the Scottish courts and a parliamentary procedures committee at Westminster studying the circumstances. Whereas I don’t hold out much hope of justice from the latter, you can be reassured Carmichael is finished. There is a school of thought in Scotland that would prefer to keep him on the hook but not to reel him in too quickly. I agree, where’s the sport in that.

  4. Norfolk29

    Publish the story before the election and the apology after. The source was a LibDem.


    The SNP have a propoganda machine that could match anything the Telegraph does. The Scottish people voted them in although they are inept and as right wing as the Tories. So sad for my fellow Scots.

  6. sparraneil

    Don’t let the facts get in that way of a good story, or indeed in this case a good troll.


    You appear to be days behind in commenting however better late than never. The SNP are not immune from spin and being nasty bastards.

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