An article first published by Mark Watts on Byline on 4 October 2017 under the headline “Operation Conifer: Mike Veale ‘appalled’ by previous cover-ups over child sexual abuse”, contained an image of Sir Edward Heath with an invitation to readers to click through to a better crop of the picture on the FOIA Centre’s website which showed him in a small sailing boat with what appeared to be another adult male and a teenage boy.
The article stated that the photograph was understood to have been taken during his time as prime minister. It subsequently became clear that the information provided about the photograph was incorrect.
IMPRESS found that the journalist posting the article on Byline had not taken all reasonable steps to ensure accuracy prior to publication. Placement of the image and instructions to click through to a better crop of the picture, alongside an article about Operation Conifer, with information that implied that it had direct significance to the substance of that investigation, led to a breach by Byline of the IMPRESS Standards Code.
An updated version of the article also breached the Code because it did not adequately correct that significant inaccuracy. Byline has now removed the link to ‘a better crop of the picture’ and the references to it in the article, in line with an adjudication by IMPRESS. Click here to read the full adjudication]]>