17 or 117? Sunday Times overstates crimes at fair by 100 - iMediaEthics

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A 2010 Sunday Times (Credit: Flickr/PROHoward Lake)

The Sunday Times claimed there were 117 crimes at a 2018 annual horse fair called the Appleby Fair, but the reality is there were 17.

That error was part of a complaint to the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the Times’ May 26 article, “Hold your horses: town divided over ‘lawless’ gypsy livestock fair.”

A reader complained about the article for its error in reporting on the number of crime, as well as the phrasing “lawless gypsy” and the lack of capitalization of Gypsy to refer to an ethnicity.

The Times admitted it misreported the number of crimes by 100 because of a typing error, the press regulator reported. The Times also offered to publish a correction about that matter reading:

“The article “Hold your horses: Appleby divided over ‘lawless’ gypsy livestock fair’ (News, May 26) reported incorrectly that there had been 117 arrests at last year’s fair. The correct number was 17. We apologise for the error.”

Despite the correction, the Times stood by its article’s characterization of the fair as “lawless” and defended its lower-case use of the word “gypsy” because it is house style to avoid capitalization.

The press regulator rejected the complaint that the use of “gypsy” was discriminatory because its discrimination guidelines only apply to “identifiable individuals” and not groups. “The Committee noted that an individual was referred to as a Gypsy in the article but considered that it would be for that individual to complain in the event he considered this to be a pejorative or prejudicial reference to his ethnicity,” IPSO ruled.

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17 or 117? Sunday Times overstates crimes at fair by 100

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