Impress investigating Canary article that claimed BBC's Laura Kuenssberg was to speak at Tory conference

Left-leaning news website The Canary is under investigation by alternative press regulator Impress for an article it published about BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

In a statement, Impress said it was investigating the article, headlined We need to talk about Laura Kuenssberg. She’s listed as a speaker at the Tory Party conference” and published on 27 September.

The article is still online, with the headline amended to “…’invited’ speaker…”, but claims it raises questions over the impartiality of Kuenssberg and the BBC remain.

The piece prompted an outcry on social media, with Buzzfeed UK’s political editor Jim Waterson tweeting: “It took me two mins to call the event organiser and find out this is bollocks. She’s not speaking at Tory conference. Already going viral regardless.”

A clarification including a BBC statement saying that Kuenssberg would not be speaking at the conference was included later the same day.

But, it added: “This article did not state that Kuenssberg would be speaking at the event, merely that she had been invited and if she were to accept that it would raise concerns about the impartiality of the BBC.”

A spokesperson for Impress said it had received “one escalated complaint” about the Canary article, adding: “The complaint has now been accepted for investigation under clauses 1 (Accuracy) of the Impress Standards Code and we aim to complete our investigation within 42 days.

“The fact that a complaint has been accepted for investigation does not necessarily mean that there has been any breach of the Impress Standards Code and whether that is the case can only be determined by a regulatory committee made up of Impress Board members.”

Director of operations at The Canary Drew Rose said: “We try our best to get each story right. But like any media outlet, occasionally we will make mistakes.

“We take complaints seriously at The Canary. As a regulated outlet we would expect that sometimes Impress will be prompted to review clarifications we have made. They will determine whether proper process has been followed.

“Our readers can rely on us to be open; when we make an error in our reporting, we don’t just update the article as other mainstream outlets do. We are committed to making our corrections at, at least, the same volume we make our mistakes. So we repost the updated article and pin a correction to the top of our Facebook page for at least 24 hours.”

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