UK Regulator Will Investigate Sext Sting without filed complaint, 1st time

Home » Undercover Reporting»

(Credit: iMediaEthics image, photo by Bryan Gosline via Flickr)

The UK’s new regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), is going to investigate on its own the Mirror‘s reporting, which prompted the resignation of a politician over his sexual exchanges with an undercover reporter.

As iMediaEthics previously reported, IPSO, which last month replaced the Press Complaints Commission, said it would look into a complaint filed against the Mirror for the reporting. But, the complainant, Mark Pritchard, dropped his complaint.

Freelance reporter Alex Wickham, from the Guido Fawkes blog, posed as a woman named Sophie Wittam on Twitter. He used pictures of a Swedish model and a UK woman on the account to attract politicians and tweeted with Newmark, who sent her sexts. The Guido Fawkes blog claimed it didn’t try to “trap” any politicians.

Under the old system, the PCC, the regulator couldn’t investigate issues without a complaint. But, the new regulator IPSO can.

“This will be the first time that a press regulator has continued to investigate a complaint in the absence of a complainant,” the Guardian reported.

Pritchard announced on Twitter his “amicable settlement” with the Mirror, the Press Gazette reported. Pritchard tweeted:


Pritchard told iMediaEthics by e-mail: “I have come to an amicable settlement with the Sunday Mirror and they have published a suitable statement in their corrections column.”

The Mirror also published a correction regarding its reporting on Pritchard, the Press Gazette reported.

“Following our article of September 28 concerning the investigation into Brooks Newmark MP and the exchange of explicit pictures online with an undercover freelance reporter, although the Sunday Mirror did not publish any allegations about Mark Pritchard MP, we are happy to make clear that Mr Pritchard was not at any time suspected or accused of sending inappropriate or explicit messages and/or pictures to anyone via social media or otherwise. In addition, Mr Pritchard is not married and is single.”

IPSO told the Press Gazette it planned to continue its review of the reporting by the Mirror and that it was glad Pritchard got his own resolution. The statement said IPSO hadn’t heard from Pritchard or the Mirror but it “would be pleased if it were the case that resolution has been achieved since that would be a success for the Ipso complaints process.”

“Nevertheless, IPSO is considering whether this case raises broader questions which demand further investigation from the regulator,” IPSO said.

iMediaEthics has written to IPSO and the Mirror for comment.


Submit a tip / Report a problem

UK Regulator Will Investigate Sext Sting without filed complaint, 1st time in UK

Share this article:

Comments Terms and Conditions

  • We reserve the right to edit/delete comments which harass, libel, use coarse language and profanity.
  • We moderate comments especially when there is conflict or negativity among commenters.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *