Channel 4 admonishes Cathy Newman over mosque tweets

Cathy Newman

The editor of Channel 4 News has told presenter Cathy Newman he was disappointed with her claim that a mosque in Streatham “ushered” her out, after CCTV footage emerged that showed her leaving the mosque unescorted.

Newman’s tweets led to several days of negative comments and headlines about British Muslims.

After she was “rumbled” by a Huffington Post article she received harsh criticism from Muslims and non-Muslims who accused her of fanning the flames of Islamophobia and of losing her credibility as a journalist.

Over 7,000 people signed a petition on Change.org calling on Channel 4 to fire her.

In a letter to the South London Islamic Centre, Ben de Pear said: “I have spoken to her [Newman] at length and expressed my disappointment at her actions. Her language was poorly chosen and caused your mosque untold and undeserved hurt.”

cathyChannel 4 has refused to deny rumours that the presenter has also been disciplined by ITN.

Ben de Pear visited the Streatham mosque on Wednesday to deliver two letters, one from Newman and one of his own in which he offered an “unreserved apology for the considerable distress caused by recent events”.

Newman, in her letter to Aslam Ijaz, the chair of trustees at the Islamic Centre, said: “After leaving your mosque, I hastily tweeted my interpretation of events. I accept my language was poorly chosen and has caused offence. This was never my intention and I would like to offer my sincere apologies.

“Channel 4 News has a particularly strong relationship with the Muslim community and we pride ourselves on representing your views with balance and accuracy – a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Newman, who will be taking a break from Twitter, said she wanted to express “my deepest regret at the events of the past week”.

She said she had set out to film a “positive news story about Visit My Mosque day – an initiative to be commended, particularly in these difficult times”.

She added she would “welcome the opportunity to visit your mosque once again to discuss how we can all work together more positively in the future”.

Newman, Channel 4’s former political correspondent who became a presenter of Channel 4 News in 2011, will return alongside Jon Snow on Thursday evening. She last presented the show on Friday last week.

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