The Docklands & East London Advertiser have taken down an article about an Islamic preacher after they acknowledged that it was sensationalised, misleading and factually incorrect.
The controversy was sparked when an article appeared on Monday in the East London Advertiser (ELA) written by journalist Adam Barnett entitled “‘Medieval’ Muslim cleric’s speech blocked by London Muslim Centre”.
In the article, the reporter implied that Mufti Ibn Adam was calling for the implementation of the Shariah punishment system here in the UK.
In addition, Mr. Barnett quoted a spokesman for the LMC saying: “Our booking and vetting procedures are tight, hence we asked the event organiser to remove this speaker from their proposed event when they first approached us.”
After being inundated with complaints, the Executive Editor of ELA, Michael Adkins issued a letter to some of the complainants stating that “I removed the story from our website and instructed we do not run this story in the paper”.
Here is the letter in full:
“I have looked into your complaint quite extensively with the reporter and news editor concerned.
From my understanding there was no deliberate attempt to misrepresent this story but, following your complaint, I have looked carefully at the wording of the story and your claim it was presented without being placed in the proper context. I have made it clear to the team that our news stories should be just that – straight news stories with no hint of comment on wrongly worded tone which could confuse readers or risk giving a misinterpretation of the story and facts.
The quotes originally supplied to us by the organisers of this event made out he was stopped from taking part in this as a direct result of the online question and answer session where he discussed Shari’ah law. They have since changed their stance.
In light of your complaint I removed the story from our website and instructed we do not run this story in the paper. I have also advised how this could have been written clearer to put the story across in a more balanced context.
We have also been in correspondence with Mr Al-Kawthari and I will outline what action I have taken to him.
Thanks for raising your concerns, they have been noted and will be kept in mind in the future.”