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

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