26th February 2016

Scottish Times Censured By IPSO

The Scottish version of The Times newspaper has been censured by IPSO.


The Independent Press Standards Organisation has censured The Times in Scotland, after it named a complainant in a sexual assault case.

A complaint made to IPSO over the article in question stated that it breached numerous clauses in the Editors' Code.

Clauses breached include privacy, right to reply, accuracy, identifying victims of sexual assault, and harassment.

The article centred around a case in which a woman was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a man.

While the man in question was assured by the police that he would not be identified in the press, the article did identify him.

The article is said to have caused the man significant distress, as his family and friends only found out about the incident through reading it in the newspaper.

The man described it as "humiliating".

An IPSO statement said: "The newspaper had been legally free to name the complainant. However, the Code sets out a more stringent test than the law in that, regardless of the legal position, publications may not name victims of sexual assault unless there is ‘adequate justification’ to do so. This justification must be a compelling one in order to outweigh the general public interest in preserving victims’ anonymity.

“The committee did not accept the newspaper’s argument that the remarks made by the sheriff could justify identification of the complainant. The fact remained that the case had been taken forward to trial by the prosecuting authorities, and there was no finding that the complainant had acted improperly in making the accusation.
“Neither the acquittal nor the sheriff’s comments affected the complainant’s status as a self-identified victim of sexual assault.”

 
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