Paper apologises for false net porn allegations

Luton on Sunday printed a frontpage apology after it falsely accused a leading community figure of being sacked after viewing pornography on his computer, writes Dominic Ponsford.

The paper also paid what it said was “substantial” compensation for the allegation.

Dr Yasin Rehman, a leading figure in the Luton Council of Mosques and former council election candidate, was accused of viewing pornographic images on his computer at work.

The article also questioned his right to use the title ‘doctor’, said he had been sacked from his job and claimed his marriage had broken down.

The free paper accepted the allegations were false and withdrew them wholly. The offending article appeared on the 2 May front page and the allegations were repeated in the 9 May edition and on the paper’s website.

Luton on Sunday editorial director Steve Lowe said: “The important thing if you do get it wrong is to admit it quickly and make proper restitution. We admitted straight away that mistakes were made.”

Rehman told Press Gazette that the cash settlement was based on what the newspaper’s costs might have been had the matter gone to court.

He said: “The whole thing was based on a lot of lies. I’m glad they have finally realised that.

“It did affect my life a great deal. I think it was instigated by some individuals politically. It has been settled but the damage has been done and can’t be repaired.”

The original front-page Luton on Sunday story included leaked documents which the paper reproduced and quoted from.

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