Ruling

Resolution Statement 13247-16 Palestinian Return Centre v Daily Express

    • Date complaint received

      27th April 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 13247-16 Palestinian Return Centre v Daily Express

Summary of Complaint

1. The Palestinian Return Centre complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in relation to an article headlined “Lib Dems kick out ‘anti-Israel’ peer“, published on 28 October 2016. The article was also published online with the headline “Baroness Tonge resigns from the Lib Dems following suspension for 'anti-Israel meeting'”

2. The article reported on an event at the House of Lords, organised by the complainant. It reported that Baroness Tonge had “resigned from the Liberal Democrats after chairing a meeting at which Israel was compared to terror group Islamic State and Jewish people were blamed for the Holocaust”. The article reported that the remarks in question had been made by a “speaker at the event”, and referred to this individual as “a speaker”.

3. The complainant said that the remarks in question were made by a member of the audience. It was inaccurate to refer to this individual as a speaker, as this suggested that they were a member of the panel it had organised for the event.

4. The newspaper said that the article did not contain any reference to the speaker being a member of the Palestinian Return Centre. It denied that it was inaccurate for the article to refer to this individual as “a speaker at the event”.

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 the corrections and clarifications column on the newspaper’s letters page:

Clarification - Palestinian Return Centre

In our article “Lib Dems kick out 'anti-Israel’ peer” published on 28 October 2016, we reported that a speaker at a Palestinian Return Centre event had compared Israel to Islamic State and blamed Jewish people for the Holocaust. We would like to clarify that the comments were made by an audience member and not one of the invited panel. The Centre say that they do not tolerate any form of antisemitism.

The newspaper also offered to remove references to “the speaker” from the online article, and to refer instead to “an audience member”. It offered to publish the following as footnote to the article:

Clarification

This article was amended on 08 February 2017. The article originally said that a speaker at the event had compared Israel to Islamic State, and had blamed the Jewish people for the Holocaust. The article has since been amended to clarify that the comments were made by an audience member and not one of the invited panel. The Centre say that the audience member was not invited to the meeting. It says that they promote social cohesion, and do not tolerate any form of antisemitism.

7. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to its satisfaction.

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: 15/11/2016

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 14/02/2017