MailOnline’s ‘Wales bans English holidaymakers’ story found to be ‘significantly misleading’
A story claiming the Welsh Government had banned English holidaymakers has been found to be ‘significantly misleading’ by a press watchdog.
MailOnline has been forced to publish a correction after a complaint was upheld by the Independent Press Standards Organisation about a story published on March 27th headlined, ‘Wales BANS English holidaymakers’.
The story claimed that First Minister Mark Drakeford had imposed a ban on English holidaymakers with only Welsh people being allowed to stay in holiday lets.
In reality, it was the UK Government that had restricted unnecessary travel outside of England.
The MailOnline correction states: “An article headlined ‘Wales BANS English holidaymakers: First Minister Mark Drakeford lifts tourism ban on March 27 – but insists only Welsh people can stay in holiday lets’, published on 12 March 2021 reported that the Welsh Government and its First Minister had ‘banned’ English holidaymakers from the country when, in fact, it was the result of restrictions introduced by the UK Government that did not permit unnecessary travel outside of England at the time.”
Similar misleading headline claims were made by the Daily Telegraph.
The inaccuracies were highlighted at the time by Nation.Cymru, with Arfon Jones, who was then North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, branding the media ‘muppets’ for spreading false information.
The original MailOnline story has been updated to add the correction but remains online with more than 1,900 comments – the majority of them criticising the Welsh Government.
Among the top-rated comments are: “He comes across as a petty nationalist who doesn’t like the English.”
Another states: “People like Drakeford and Sturgeon have been using the pandemic to try and score political points and divide the Nation. Nasty people.”
The IPSO ruling concluded: “The headline, in the view of the Committee, had misrepresented the announcement by the First Minister, who appeared to merely reiterate the restrictions already imposed by the UK government.
“On this basis, the newspaper had failed to take care not to publish misleading information in breach of Clause 1(i). This was significantly misleading, creating the misimpression that the Welsh Government had introduced a distinct policy on the matter, which it had not.”
MailOnline did not accept any breach of the code and denied that the story was inaccurate, saying they were ‘entitled to characterise the comments in the way it did’.