The Independent Press Standards Organization, the UK print regulator, ruled it was wrong for the Lincolnshire Echo to report on the death of a local woman who had been killed in a terrorist attack in Tunisia.
The UK newspaper’s June 26 story, “Lincolnshire woman killed in Tunisia terrorist attack,” reported on the death of Carly Lovett.
But, as complained to IPSO, the newspaper’s story announced “Lovett’s death as fact before it had been confirmed to her family” and this “had caused enormous upset at an already highly distressing time.”
“The article had been published at 8.57 pm, when the family knew only that Ms Lovett had been involved in the attack and had been injured,” IPSO reported.
“Shortly after midnight, Ms Lovett’s fiancé, who was in Tunisia, had been taken to the hospital to see Ms Lovett, who at that stage had been identified as ‘a casualty’. On arrival at the hospital he had been asked to identify her body. He had then informed the rest of the family of her death.”
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In response to the complaints, the Echo argued its article was published about six hours after it found out of Lowell’s death and had reporters had contacted “various family, friends and colleagues,” according to IPSO.
IPSO ruled that it was fair for the Echo to “report on a local connection to the attack” but commented that it was important to both fact check and consider Lovett’s family in doing so.
Because the newspaper relied on anonymous sources that Lovett’s family knew she had died, IPSO ruled the paper was “unable to show that it had taken appropriate care before it took the decision to publish to ensure that the family knew Ms Lovett had been killed,” so IPSO ruled the paper broke its code and was insensitive.
iMediaEthics is writing to the Echo for further comment about the ruling.