The Daily Star Sunday has been forced to issue an apology after the press watchdog judged a story it published falsely claimed that UK mosques were raising money to fund terrorism.
Richard Desmond’s Sunday tabloid published an apology on page two of the paper yesterday (Monday) following the IPSO judgement.
The ruling follows just days after rival tabloid the sun was judged to have breached the Editors’ Code by publishing a “significantly misleading” front page headline ‘1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis.”.
The assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council Miqdaad Versi complained to IPSO about the accuracy of the Daily Star Sunday article, which was published in print on 22 November with the headline “UK mosques give cash for terror”. It was also publishned online with the headline “UK mosques fundraising for terror”.
The articles suggested that money was being transferred to Bosnia in order to fund terrorist training camps in the country.
Versi complained to IPSO after he said the article was inaccurate as it suggested that mosques, in general, were funding terrorist training camps in Bosnia.
IPSO assessed the article under clause one of the Editors' Code which states:
(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.
It ruled that the article had breached Clause 1 (i) of the Editors' Code.
In its ruling IPSO said: “Both the print and online version of the headline represented a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article."
The correction appeared on page 2 of the Sunday tabloid in its corrections and clarifications column.
Versi said: "There is growing Islamophobia in the UK today, with more and more people having negative attitudes towards Muslims. In such a climate, it is very important that newspapers are careful in reporting facts accurately. In this case, the newspaper wrongly alleged that UK mosques were fundraising for terror without any evidence.
"Such sensationalism creates real damage as it reinforces an unfounded assumption that mosques across the UK are a problem in our society. I hope that through this correction, isolated incidents can be seen for what they are – actions by fringe elements of society, and not linked to Muslim institutions such as mosques.”