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Press regulator upholds complaint against The Daily Telegraph for leaked Sturgeon memo


By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

July 6, 2015 | 3 min read

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (ISPO) has upheld a complaint against the Daily Telegraph over the story about a leaked government memo involving first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The story, which claimed that the Scottish first minister secretly wanted David Cameron to be re-elected in the general election, was ruled to be “significantly misleading” by the press regulator.

The Daily Telegraph has been ordered to publish an adjudication on page two, with a front page reference as well as online publication.

The complaint to the ISPO claimed that the newspaper had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code after publishing an article on 4 April based on the leaked memo without contact Ms Sturgeon for comment.

Matt Tee, chief executive of the IPSO criticised the newspaper for failing to “take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”.

He said the article was “significantly misleading because the newspaper had failed to make clear that it did not know whether the account the memorandum presented was true” and ordered the correction.

Following the decision Nicola Sturgeon said she welcomed the “unequivocal verdict by IPSO on the Daily Telegraph's story, which is a victory for effective regulation of the press - and for the truth".

The first minister pointed out that the newspaper had failed to carry out "the most elementary of journalistic checks and balances" and failed in its "duty to ensure, as far as possible, that the stories they present to readers are fair, balanced and - above all – accurate".

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has launched a formal inquiry into the conduct of the former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael who admitted full responsibility for the untrue facts contained within the leak.

The case has been brought before the Court of Session where Mr Carmichael's lawyers are fighting to have the attempts to oust him dismissed at a legal debate.

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