Resolution Statement: Complaint 04812-15 Versi v The Mail on Sunday
Summary of complaint
1. Miqdaad Versi complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Mail on Sunday breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Welcome to Shadwell: Muslim gang sabotages immigration-raid vans”, published on 26 July 2015.
2. The complainant expressed concern that article had stated as fact that the Home Office vans had been attacked by Muslims. He said that this was conjecture, and should have been distinguished as such. He said that, aside from a witness who had reportedly described the people as “Muslim hoodies”, there was no other basis for the claim. In any case, the youths’ religion was irrelevant.
3. The newspaper said that news of the incident had appeared on Twitter and it appeared to be receiving support from people apparently belonging to Muslim communities; the local population in Shadwell is predominantly Muslim. The newspaper did not believe that the article was inaccurate or misleading, and said that it was important to highlight the community involved, given that earlier that week the Prime Minister had made a speech appealing to Muslims to help combat extremism.
Relevant Code Provisions
Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.
iii) The press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. The newspaper offered to publish the following clarification in its Corrections & Clarifications column:
“An article on July 26 said a gang of Muslim youths was responsible for damaging Home Office Immigration Enforcement vehicles in Shadwell, East London, in the week the Prime Minister appealed to Muslims to help combat extremism. Muslim readers have asked to point out that the youths’ religion was unclear and, in any case, irrelevant to the story. We apologise for any offence caused.”
7. The newspaper also amended the online article, removing all reference to Muslims, and added the clarification as a footnote. In addition, it published the clarification as a stand-alone item on its online Corrections & Clarifications page.
8. The complainant said that the newspaper’s offer would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 31/07/2015
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/09/2015Back to ruling listing