The Scottish Daily Record published an article claiming vape shops were breaking the law by selling cannabis flowers.
One of the vape shop owners cited in the article complained about the article to the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the article, arguing it was inaccurate, that it fabricated a quote and was an invasion of privacy.
Even though the Record provided no evidence of the quotation, having submitted no recording or notes to IPSO, the press regulator still rejected the complaint. Why? Because it didn’t “affect the central claim” of the article.
The Daily Record declined to comment to iMediaEthics.
IPSO rejected the complaint from the shop owner, Shawn Conway, in full. iMediaEthics has written to the Record to ask why it didn’t have notes to support its interview. We’ve also contacted the vape shop in question.
Specifically, Conway was upset about the claim that his shop broke the law by selling cannabis flowers; his cannabis flowers, he said, were within the EU Supreme Court ruling. However, IPSO noted that the EU Law and the Misuse of Drugs Act conflict. Conway also was upset the article claimed the flowers could get users high and said the journalist never identified herself as a reporter.
The Record stood by its reporting as based on the Misuse of Drugs Act indicating cannabis flowers are listed as an illegal drugs, that its claims were fair, and that its reporter didn’t need to identify herself because the act was done in public, just as a member of the public would have seen it.
“There was no requirement for the reporter to discuss, hide or reveal her identity to the complainant by making a transaction in his shop, and said that Clause 10 would only have been engaged if she had denied being a reporter after being asked directly by the complainant,” the Record argued, according to IPSO. “Nevertheless, it said that there was a public interest in exposing the illegality of selling cannabis flowers.”
IPSO agreed with the Record, finding that the article correctly reported on the Misuse of Drugs Act and the shop’s advertisement descriptions.
IPSO ruled that the reporter’s actions were in the public interest and any subterfuge or misrepresentation were limited; thus, it as OK that the report cited information from the reporter’s conversation without identifying herself.