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IPSO uphold Historical Abuse Inquiry complaint against Belfast Telegraph

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Following an article published on 11 February 2017, headlined "Inquiry ignored abuse report on paedophile doctor: claim", and an article published on 13 February 2017, headlined "Hospital's paedophile doctor and unanswered questions that won't go away", the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Belfast Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice

Following an article published on 11 February 2017, headlined "Inquiry ignored abuse report on paedophile doctor: claim", and an article published on 13 February 2017, headlined "Hospital's paedophile doctor and unanswered questions that won't go away", the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Belfast Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice

Following an article published on 11 February 2017, headlined "Inquiry ignored abuse report on paedophile doctor: claim", and an article published on 13 February 2017, headlined "Hospital's paedophile doctor and unanswered questions that won't go away", the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Belfast Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice

Following an article published on 11 February 2017, headlined "Inquiry ignored abuse report on paedophile doctor: claim", and an article published on 13 February 2017, headlined "Hospital's paedophile doctor and unanswered questions that won't go away", the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Belfast Telegraph breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

IPSO upheld the complaint and has required the Belfast Telegraph to publish this adjudication as a remedy to the breach.

The first article reported that Dr Niall Meehan had claimed that the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry had "ignored" his report, which had found that child-psychiatrist Dr Roderick Morrison Fraser had abused a 13-year-old boy.

The second article was an opinion piece written by Dr Meehan, in which he said that the HIA Inquiry should have investigated why Dr Fraser had continued to work as a doctor until 1995.

He said that he had sent the inquiry a submission and his report on Dr Fraser, but it had ignored them.

The complainant said that the newspaper had inaccurately asserted that it had "ignored" Dr Meehan's submission on the allegations concerning Dr Fraser. In fact, references had been made to his submissions and allegations in the inquiry report and at the inquiry's public hearings.

The newspaper said that it had accurately reported that the complainant had "refused to include (Dr Meehan's) damning report". It had not been aware that there were references to his submissions in the report; the reporter had not found his name on the document.

The Complaints Committee was concerned that the newspaper had failed to properly check the complainant's report, which was publicly available at the time of publication, and as a result it had given a significantly misleading impression of its contents. This represented a failure to take care over the accuracy of the articles in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy). A correction was required.

During IPSO's investigation of the complaint, the newspaper offered to publish a correction. The Committee considered that the wording offered addressed the misleading information; however, it had been offered more than two months after it had been made aware of the complainant's concerns.

This represented a failure to correct an inaccuracy promptly in breach of the Clause

1. The complaint was upheld.

Belfast Telegraph