Resolution Statement: Complaint 02742-14 Khan v The Sunday Telegraph

    • Date complaint received

      8th March 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 02742-14 Khan v The Sunday Telegraph 

Summary of complaint

1. Shoaib Khan complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sunday Telegraph had published an article, headlined “We can’t control our borders until we control those judges”, on 9 November 2014, that raised a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The complainant expressed concern that the article gave a misleading account of the effect of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) on the rules governing immigration in to the UK. He said that other areas of law, such as EU law and UK immigration law, were also responsible in shaping the rules governing immigration, whereas article had suggested that Article 8 of the ECHR was solely responsible.  The complainant contended that the article had misrepresented the European Court of Human Rights case of Abdulaziz v UK by stating that it upheld the principle that, under Article 8, anyone entitled to live in a country is also entitled to bring in other members of their family. The complainant was also concerned by the article’s contention that the ECHR meant that up to 100 people from one family can immigrate to the UK, who would all then be eligible for benefits; he denied that the convention established this. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in stating that many EU families had entered the UK with only one economically active member under human right rules. He said that the free movement of EU families was a matter of EU law, rather than the ECHR. 

3. The newspaper said that the article was an opinion piece, in which the author was expressing his view on the influence of Article 8 of the ECHR on immigration processes and the decision of judges. In direct correspondence with the complainant, the newspaper offered to remove the reference to the Abdulaziz case from the online article. It offered to publish a footnote to the online article explaining that this amendment had been made, and a print clarification in the newspaper. It also offered to amend an inaccurate date, and replace the claim that large families of immigrants were all “eligible for benefits”, with “all then able to access a variety of social benefits”. 

Relevant Code Provisions

4. 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. 

Mediated outcome

5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore instigated an investigation into the matter. 

6. The newspaper ultimately offered to publish a further correction on page 2 of the newspaper in its Corrections and Clarifications column, and to amend the online article accordingly. The offered correction was as follows: 

An article on Nov 9, 2014 mistakenly stated that judges’ rulings invoking Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to “respect for family life” – were solely responsible for the increasing settlement in the UK of family members of people settled here. In fact, EU rules and UK law also govern such settlement. In addition the article said that up to 100 members of each family could be admitted; we wish to clarify that this estimate was not based on a documented case. The article also stated that in the “Abdulaziz” case, the European Court of Human Rights held that anyone legally entitled to live in a country is then entitled to bring in other members of their family. We wish to clarify that this case upheld the principle that immigration rules governing the admission of family members must be consistent with the Article 8 right to respect for family life. However, the applicants lost their cases on their particular facts. The article further said that all these members of the family would be entitled to benefits in the UK, whereas in fact only some would be. It also stated that countless EU families with only one economically active member entered the UK under human rights rules, whereas they enter under EU rules. We are happy to make this clear. 

7. The complainant said that the newspaper’s offer would resolve the matter to his satisfaction. The correction was published on 8 March 2015. The online article was amended accordingly, and an ‘update’ was published at the foot of the article, which made clear that these amendments had been made. 

8. 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: 15/12/2014

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 08/03/2015