The Spectator have been rebuked by the Press Complaints Commission for Rod Liddle's inaccurate "goat curry" blog.
The Spectator have been rebuked by the Press Complaints Commission for Rod Liddle’s inaccurate “goat curry” blog. Liddle’s remarks were a key driver of the successful campaign by Left Foot Forward and other organisations to ensure that he did not become editor of the Independent.
Last December, Rod Liddle wrote:
“The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community. Of course, in return, we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks.”
The PCC have ruled today on a complaint by Mr Oli Bird:
“The Commission recognised the magazine’s argument that the nature of a blog post is often provocative and conducive to discussion. The blog in this case – which had been clearly attributed to the columnist – had certainly provoked considerable debate.
“However, the magazine had not been able to demonstrate that the “overwhelming majority” of crime in all of the stated categories had been carried out by members of the African-Caribbean community. It was difficult to argue that the sentence in question represented purely the columnist’s opinion, which might be challenged. Instead, it was a statement of fact. As such, the Commission believed that the onus was on the magazine to ensure that it was corrected authoritatively online. It could not rely merely on the carrying of critical reaction to the piece. The Commission upheld the complaint under Clause 1 of the Code.”
Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code of Practice states:
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.
iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
iv) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.
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