Resolution Statement 18840-17 The English Democrats v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      14th December 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 12 Discrimination

Resolution Statement 18840-17 The English Democrats v Daily Mail

Summary of Complaint

1. The English Democrats complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1(Accuracy) and Clause 12(Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Revealed: The Chilling resurgence of Britain’s Far Right,” published on 9 September 2017. The article also appeared online headlined, “The chilling resurgence of Britain’s Far Right: UK extremists are on the march again- and they’re recruiting middle-class female graduates to push their warped ideology.”

2. The article mainly reported on the activities of one “far-right” proscribed organisation, outlining their beliefs and commenting on the profiles of their recent recruits. The article went on to discuss the “far right” more broadly, and stated that “the far right has splintered into rival groups… which now seem content bickering between themselves.” The article named the complainant in this list of “far-right” groups. The online article was substantially the same as the print article.

3. The complainant said that it was inaccurate to refer to the English Democrats as “far-right,” as they were an English nationalist party campaigning for English independence, and could not be placed on the traditional left/right political spectrum. They also said it was inaccurate to state they were “bickering” with other groups, as they have no involvement with any of the other groups mentioned. They also raised concern that the references to “neo Nazis” in the article implied that they shared these beliefs.

4. The complainant also raised concern that the article breached Clause 12 (Discrimination), as they believed it discriminated against individuals of English national identity.

5. The newspaper did not accept it had breached the Code. It said that the description of any political party as “far-right” is subjective, but said that “far-right” was generally accepted to encompass those groups and organisations of a more extreme conservative political persuasion, which support a nationalist agenda and discourage diversity. It provided examples from the complainant’s social media accounts which it believed supported its characterisation of the party as “far-right.” 

6. It also said that the complainant had been described as “far-right” by numerous credible sources, which had also reported that “far-right” groups were splintering and subject to a certain level of infighting. The newspaper also said the article made clear that the references to “neo-Nazis” did not apply to the entirety of the “far-right.”

7. In response to the newspaper’s comments, the complainant said that simply because other sources had reported that the party was “far-right” did not mean it was accurate. They also said that the term “far-right” had not been used as a general term but rather to draw a connection between the party and other groups named in the article.

Relevant Code Provisions

8. 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.

Clause 12 (Discrimination)

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Mediated Outcome

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

10. Following IPSO’s intervention, the newspaper offered to circulate a notice making editorial staff aware of the complainant’s concerns and offered to publish the following clarification both in print and online:

Following an article on 9 September, which included the English Democrats in a list of ‘far right’ organisations, we are happy to make clear that they consider themselves to be modern democratic English nationalists and to fall neither on the right nor the left of the political spectrum.

11. The complainant said this would resolve the matter to their satisfaction.

12. 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: 04/10/2017

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 26/11/2017