The Daily Telegraph breached the Editors’ Code by inaccurately reporting on its front page an allegation of anti-semitism made against Jeremy Corbyn.
It is the fourth Independent Press Standards Organisation ruling against The Daily Telegraph, making it the title with the worst record for upheld complaints since the new regulator opened in September 2014.
Labour MP Ivan Lewis complained to IPSO over the 15 August article headlined: “Labour grandees round on ‘anti-Semite’ Corbyn.”
The article reported that shadow Northern Ireland secretary Lewis had accused Corbyn, who has since been named leader of the Labour Party, of being an anti-semite and attacked his “anti-Semitic rhetoric”.
The basis of this claim was an article published in the New Statesman in which Lewis said: “Some of [Mr Corbyn’s] stated political views are a cause for serious concern. At the very least he has shown poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged in…anti-Semitic rhetoric.
“It saddens me to have to say to some on the left of British politics that anti-racism means zero tolerance of anti-Semitism, no ifs, and no buts”.
Lewis said the Telegraph had misrepresented his views as expressed in the New Statesman.
The Telegraph did not accept Lewis’s complaint but offered to publish the following clarification on page two, and below the article:
An article of 15 August said that Ivan Lewis had accused Jeremy Corbyn of being ‘anti-Semitic’. In fact, Mr Lewis said that Mr Corbyn had ‘shown very poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged… in anti-Semitic rhetoric’. We are happy to make this clear."
Lewis rejected the offer saying the correction should appear on the front page of the print edition and on the home page of the website.
Upholding the complaint, IPSO said: “The article was a news report that stated prominently and without qualification that ‘Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being an anti-Semite’…
“The headline had also referred to an accusation that Mr Corbyn was ‘anti-Semitic’, meaning the complainant’s comments.
“An express claim that Mr Corbyn was an anti-Semite would have constituted an exceptionally strong attack by the complainant on Mr Corbyn, with potential implications for both men; this was a highly significant claim. In fact, the complainant had not made this criticism in terms, as the article stated.
“The coverage was therefore significantly misleading. “
IPSO told the Telegraph to publish a clearer correction beneath the online article and on page two, with a reference to the IPSO ruling and a reference on the front page of the print edition. The correction must be agreed with IPSO in advance.
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