Ruling

Resolution Statement – 04118-16 Versi v The Sun

    • Date complaint received

      15th September 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement - 04118-16 Versi v The Sun

Summary of Complaint 

1.    Miqdaad Versi complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sun breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “ ‘Honour killing of Mum’ “ published on 26 May 2016. The article was also published online with the headline “Mum-of-four butchered while caring for her young kids as cops probe Islamic honour killing lead”. 

2.    The article reported that it was feared that a woman killed in her own home may have been the victim of an “Islamic honour attack”. It reported that cops were “open-minded” about the motive for the attack but were “probing the possibility [the deceased] was targeted in honour based violence”. 

3.    The complainant said that the reference in the headline to an “Islamic honour killing” was inaccurate: “honour killings” have no basis in Islam. He said that “honour killings” are rooted in culture, not religion. 

4.    The newspaper acknowledged that most Muslims believe that there is nothing in the Quran that suggests killing a woman in the name of ‘honour’ is acceptable, and it recognised that so-called “honour-killings” take place in communities other than Muslim communities. However, it said that certain individuals have interpreted Islam in a way which leads them to commit these crimes in the name of their religion. It denied that ‘religion’ and ‘culture’ could be distinguished in the manner the complainant had sought to.  

Relevant Code Provisions 

5.    Clause 1 (Accuracy) 

i)  The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator. 

iii)   A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for. 

iv)   The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact. 

Mediated Outcome 

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

7.    Following IPSO’s intervention, the newspaper offered to publish the following correction in its Corrections and Clarifications box on page 2 of the newspaper: 

“An article “Honour Killing of Mum”, 26 May, said that the police were investigating whether Mrs Khan may have been murdered in an ‘Islamic honour killing’. We are happy to make clear Islam as a religion does no support so-called ‘honour killings’.” 

It offered to replace the words “Islamic honour killing” in the headline to the online article with the words “honour killing” in inverted commas. It offered to publish the following footnote on the online article:  

“An earlier version of this article said that the police were investigating whether Mrs Khan may have been murdered in an ‘Islamic honour killing’. We are happy to make clear Islam as a religion does no support so-called ‘honour killings’.” 

8.    In addition, and on the complainant’s suggestion, the newspaper offered to meet with him to discuss his complaint and other issues. Following this meeting, the complainant said that the action offered by the newspaper would resolve his complaint 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: 24/06/2016

Date complaints concluded by IPSO: 17/08/2016