Clauses Noted: 1
Mrs Lesley Brain of Faro, Portugal, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a feature headlined "Kate Winslet's Cornish hideaway" published in Hello! magazine on March 13 2001 contained misleading material in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.
The complaint was upheld.
The complainant had sold her home in Cornwall to the actress Kate Winslet. While the house was on the market a number of photographs of the interior were taken in order to publicise its sale. Included in some of these photographs were possessions owned by the complainant. After the sale of the house a feature appeared in the magazine which included the photographs and stated that they showed the interior of Kate Winsletís new second home. The complainant objected to the feature because it did not make clear that the photographs were taken before Ms Winslet bought the house. The feature was therefore misleading because it gave the impression that the complainants had sold with the house their possessions - including, in one case, a treasured wedding gift.
The editor denied that the feature was misleading. He said that the photographs had been taken by The Times with the complainantís agreement and that they had appeared elsewhere. The complainant said that The Times had made clear that she was the owner and not Kate Winslet and added that, living abroad, she could not monitor every publication that included the pictures. Nonetheless, the feature in Hello magazine was clearly misleading.
The Commission noted that there was nothing in the feature to suggest that the photographs had been taken before Kate Winslet had bought the property. In these circumstances the Commission could understand the complainantís embarrassment and irritation at the misleading impression that had been created. The Code requires that magazines must take care not to publish misleading material and the Commission considered that this was therefore a clear breach of the Code.
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