UK: Media watchdog backs down from sacking Kavanagh from board

26th Feb 2017
UK: Media watchdog backs down from sacking Kavanagh from board

By Hamid Chapman
London, (The Muslim News): The Independent Press Standards Organisation has declined to remove The Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh from its board after making a controversial attack against Channel 4 News reporter Fatima Manji in an article and comes after a complaint being rejected by its Complaints Committee for breaching the Editors’ Code of Practice on the grounds of accuracy.
A group of parliamentarians as well as hundreds of Muslims had also been seeking clarification on whether the board member, who claimed the Channel 4 presenter reporter Fatima Manji was making a fool of herself with her charges of ‘discrimination’ was in breach of the expectations of an independent press regulator and whether his position at IPSO was tenable.

A second complaint against another article by The Sun journalist though was upheld by the Complaints Committee again on accuracy and related to his article entitled “We’re kind, Gary, but we hate being conned” that was published in his paper on 24 October 2016, which focused more on the migrant camp in Calais and refugees allegedly lying about their age in order to gainaccess to Britain.

In a statement issued Friday by the board chaired by former Appeals Court judge Sir Alan Moses, the watchdog set up to regulate press standards went as far as reprimanding Kavanagh but decided to accept his apology as seemingly being enough to try to close the matter.

“IPSO is committed to ensuring that individuals who believe that they have been wronged by the press are able to seek proper redress without fear of retribution or victimisation. In this instance, public comments by an IPSO Board member brought the strength of this commitment into question. This should not have happened. The Board has received an apology from the Boardmember and an assurance that it will not happen again,” the statement said in full.

After both Complaints Committee rulings the IPSO continued to insist that although Kavanagh is a member of IPSO’s Board, the Board has “no role in the consideration of individual complaints, which are adjudicated on by the Complaints Committee. Mr Kavanagh played no part in the consideration of this complaint.”

In an interview with The Muslim News this month, Sir Alan said that the board has made it “quite clear that it does not agree with what he (Kavanagh) did and that it was contrary to IPSO’s policy, (and) have told him so.” What is more, “what he did was wholly contrary to our policy which is to protect those who complain whether their complaint is uphold or not from any comeback from any consequences as a result of making a complaint and what he wrote was in breach of that and he should not have done it.”

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