Ruling

Resolution Statement 13246-16 Palestinian Return Centre v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      27th April 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 13246-16 Palestinian Return Centre v Daily Mail

Summary of Complaint

1. The Palestinian Return Centre complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in relation to an article headlined “Shaming of Lib Dem peer who hosted vile anti-Semites in Lords”, published on 28 October 2016.

2. The article reported on an event at the House of Lords, organised by the complainant. It referred to the event as anti-Semitic, and reported that “one audience member was applauded for suggesting Hitler decided to kill Jews only after he was provoked by ant-German protests led by a rabbi in Manhattan”. The article was accompanied by a pull-quote, containing comments comparing Israel to Islamic State. The quotation was accompanied by the description “how one speaker compared Israel to IS”.

3. The complainant said that none of the speakers on the panel, nor the chair of the event had made any anti-Semitic comments, and it denied that the event was anti-Semitic. The complainant said that the audience member who had made the comments about Hitler was not applauded; the applause followed subsequent comments by the chair about the 'Boycott Divestment and Sanctions' movement against Israel. The complainant said that the pull-quote contained the comments of an audience member. It said that to refer to these comments as “how one speaker compared Israel to IS”, was misleading, as it suggested that the comments were made by a panellist at the event.

4. The newspaper denied that the pull-quote was misleading. It said that the plain meaning of the term “speaker” was someone who spoke at the event, and that the article made clear that the comments were made by an audience member, rather than an invited panellist. It noted that the chair of the event had referred to calling for the “next speaker”, while discussing her engagement with the audience. The newspaper denied that the claim about the audience member being applauded was misleading; the individual spoke at length after which he was thanked by the chair, who did not distance herself, or the meeting from the things he had said. She then noted he had referred to boycotts, and this was widely applauded. The newspaper denied that it was misleading to refer to the event as “anti-Semitic”, given the comments made by the audience.

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 clarification in its corrections and clarifications panel on its second page:

In common with other newspapers, an article on October 28 2016 about an event organised by the Palestinian Return Centre said that an audience member had been applauded for saying that Jews were responsible for the Holocaust. We are happy to clarify that the Centre had not invited the audience member in question and that the applause in fact followed subsequent remarks made about the boycott of Israel by Baroness Tonge.

The newspaper also offered to remove a piece of news agency copy reporting on the event, which was published on its website.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to its 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: 15/11/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 28/02/2017