The UK Mirror Online unpublished a story about a university student who died by suicide after the student’s mother complained to the UK press regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
The Nov. 2017 article reported on the inquest — or official investigation — into the death of the student, including information about the deceased’s mental health and a “custody battle” with the father of her child, quotes from the mother at the inquest and a blurred picture of the deceased’s child.
Anna Scott, the mother of the deceased, complained over various aspects of the article to IPSO, saying the headline was inaccurate and the article was an invasion of privacy and breached guidelines for reporting on suicide. For example, the headline quoted from a text message from the deceased, but as Scott pointed out, the Mirror misquoted that text message, which “gave a misleading impression,” according to IPSO. Scott also said that her daughter wasn’t in a custody battle and in fact had full custody.
Scott was also concerned the article breached guidelines for reporting on suicide by including her comment from the inquest about the method of death.
The Mirror stood by its article but didn’t have notes to back it up since its reporter was no longer with the newspaper. But, when the Mirror offered to unpublish its article, send a private apology, and post a clarification correcting the headline, Scott was willing to resolve the complaint. As such, IPSO didn’t rule on whether the article broke any guidelines. iMediaEthics has contacted the Mirror.
The clarification read:
“As part of our article of 15 November 2017 concerning the inquest on the death of Ellen Scott, we reported news agency copy that a text message from her said ‘I’m losing control of my life’. We have now been shown a transcript of the hearing which states that the text said ‘I’m losing my life’. We are happy to make this clear and apologise to Ellen’s family for any distress caused by the report of the Inquest.”
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