Press regulator IPSO has confirmed that high-profile backers of Hacked Off and others were wrong in their assertion that a Daily Express front-page showing crowds on Brighton seafront in breach of lockdown was faked.
The article, headlined “Patel warns selfish rule-breakers”, appeared on 24 April and led to claims repeated thousands of times on Twitter that the picture was faked because it showed cranes that were not in place when it was taken.
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Jon Mills, the picture editor of South West News, responded with a message showing the embedded metadata from the image proving it was taken when it was taken.
IPSO received 22 complaints about the piece.
The regulator said: “Complainants said that the article was inaccurate as the picture of Brighton’s promenade was not contemporaneous. Rather, they said it had been taken last summer, which was evidenced by the fact that some cranes appearing in the picture had since been removed…
“The publication did not accept that the article breached the Code. It provided the metadata for the picture, which showed that the photo had been taken on 23 April 2020, a day before publication. The publication also provided a Twitter post by a member of the public in which they apologised for initially alleging that the article was inaccurate.
“This person had since stood from where the photograph was taken from and confirmed that the same cranes that had appeared in the photo were present.”
The complaints were rejected.