Sunday Life breached Reverend's privacy with report of gay 'rumours', IPSO rules

A Sunday Life story reporting on “false rumours” that a Church of Ireland cleric was gay was a breach of his privacy, IPSO has ruled.

The paper has been censured by the press regulator and told to publish the critical adjudication on page seven (or further forward). This was where the original story appeared.

IPSO said in its ruling that the article was still a breach of privacy even though it included an on-the-record denial from the subject of the piece.

It said:

IPSO’s Complaints Committee made clear that details of an individual’s sexuality form part of private and family life and as such receive protection under the terms of Clause 3 of the Editors’ Code. The complainant had not publicly disclosed the fact that rumours of a personal nature had been circulating about him, and the newspaper had become aware of them only after being contacted by an unknown source.

The inclusion in the article of his denial was insufficient to justify the intrusion into the complainant’s private life caused by publication of the claims, regardless of their inaccuracy. Further, the complainant’s rebuttal of the allegations in conversation with the journalist did not constitute consent for publication under Clause 3 (ii)."

Read the full adjudication here.


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