Heads must roll at The Times over Muslim fostering untruths

28th Sep 2018
Heads must roll at The Times over Muslim fostering untruths

Hamed Chapman

The chief investigative reporter for The Times, Andrew Norfolk, must resign over a series of totally distorted and highly inflammatory ‘Muslim fostering’ stories, according to Professor of Journalism, Brian Cathcart.

His call, made on the crowd-funded Byline platform, comes after the release of a summary in the final judgment of the case that “leaves the newspaper’s reputation in shreds and surely puts senior journalists’ jobs on the line.”

“Norfolk and his Editor, John Witherow, should now resign. They have disgraced their paper and British journalism by recklessly publishing and defending a story that was not only grossly distorted and wholly unjustified by the facts, but one that was guaranteed to incite hatred against Muslims,” Cathcart said.

Further, he suggested that the management of The Times and its independent directors should establish a “fully independent external investigation into what may have been the most shocking failure of that paper’s journalism in a generation.” A paper capable of publishing such a story, and of standing by it in defiance of the evidence, is a “paper whose editorial standards have collapsed.”

The story, published on August 28 last year under the headline ‘Christian child forced into Muslim foster care’, has already been discredited in an investigation carried out by the local Tower Hamlets Council as well as subsequently by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in April, but the latest judgment shows the extent of the scale of the distortions and omissions perpetrated by the newspaper.

The new revelations makes clear the mother of the child in question was far from being a reliable witness, no story should have ever been published based on her evidence. Rather than being an ‘inappropriate’ placing, as The Times claimed, a Muslim foster home was probably the most familiar environment that could have been found as the child had already spent much of her short life with Muslim grandparents in a Muslim country.

The court judgment was in February even before the IPSO ruled that the article was distorted and breached the First Clause of the Editor’s Code of Practice on accuracy. The paper, which has still not withdrawn the story nor yet apologised, was told to publish a correction but instead published a short story on its front page and ran the adjudication without comment on page two.

 

Muslim fostering: Times journalism utterly discredited

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