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Jewish Chronicle did not breach accuracy rules in report on Labour Party 'rejecting' anti-Semitism definition, IPSO rules

The Jewish Chronicle did not break accuracy rules in an article about the Labour Party rejecting a definition of anti-Semitism, press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation has said.

IPSO received a complaint from Stephen Latham, who said the Chronicle had breached accuracy rules in an article reporting on anger in the Jewish community around the Labour Party’s rejection of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

The article, headlined: “What is the IHRA definition of antisemitism? And why has Labour outraged Jews by rejecting it?”, was published online in July last year.

It reported that the IHRA definition had been adopted by 31 countries, adding that the Labour Party had rejected examples of anti-Semitism included with the definition and selected its own.

Latham said the article was inaccurate because it “overstated how widely the IHRA definition had been adopted”, arguing that, while 31 nations had voted to use its definition “in order to guide its work”, only eight countries, along with Scotland and the City of London, had adopted the “non-legally binding definition” in full.

He also claimed that Labour had not rejected the IHRA definition, but had adopted it as early as December 2016.

The Jewish Chronicle denied it had broken any accuracy rules, arguing it was “not significantly misleading” to say 31 countries had adopted the definition “in the context of a newspaper summary”.

It also disagreed that it was inaccurate to report the Labour Party had rejected the full definition as it had not included some of its examples.

But it did offer to publish a clarification pointing out that only eight of the 31 IHRA plenary countries had adopted the definition in law.

IPSO rejected the complaint, saying it was “not in dispute that 31 members of the IHRA plenary voted to adopt the IHRA definition” and that the word “adopted” did not necessarily have to mean it was “enshrined in law”.

IPSO said: “It was not misleading to report that the Labour Party had refused to accept the IHRA definition in circumstances where the article highlighted the respects in which Labour had rejected or redefined some of the examples which support the core IHRA definition.

“It was clear that the article was criticising Labour for not having adopted the ‘full’ definition and it was not misleading for the publication to approach the subject on the basis that the ‘full’ definition included
the examples.

“The Complaints Committee also noted that the ‘full’ definition, namely the core definition and the examples, was not adopted by Labour until after the article was published, in September 2018.”

IPSO did not uphold the complaint.

Read the full IPSO ruling here.

Picture: Reuters/Andrew Yates

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