The Times newspaper has published a front page correction after the UK’s largest press regulator said aspects of its reporting of the case of a Christian girl placed with Muslim foster carers in east London had “distorted” the facts.
The newspaper was told by the Independent Press Standards Organisation that it must publish a correction on page six or earlier, but opted to put a short story on its front page with the full adjudication running on page two.
The complaint to IPSO was made by Tower Hamlets Borough Council, who said the Times article published on 30 August 2017 and headlined: “Judge rules child must leave Muslim foster home,” contained inaccuracies.
The Times article formed part of the newspaper’s coverage of a child’s fostering arrangement in Tower Hamlets, in which concerns had been expressed that a Christian child’s cultural and religious needs were not being adequately met by her Muslim foster carers.
The Muslim Council of Britain welcomed the ruling and correction.
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “The Times should be forced to apologise for promoting what was widely known to be an inaccurate, misleading and bigoted narrative about Muslims. The story aided the hate-filled agenda of far-right extremists such as Britain First and the EDL. We hope that this front-page note will mark a turning point in the tolerance The Times has shown for anti-Muslim bigotry in its coverage and commentary.”
He added: “We also hope that the Conservative Members of Parliament who jumped on the bandwagon will apologise for their divisive contributions to the front page story in the Daily Mail – a story that is yet to be retracted.”
Miqdaad Versi, who leads the MCB’s work on media reporting on Islam and Muslims in the media, further added: “While IPSO’s ruling on this shameful incidence of anti-Muslim reporting is welcome their response thus far has been too little, too late. The note on the front page is welcome but cannot be considered even due prominence given this story was on 4 front pages! Furthermore, the regulator was initially dismissive of legitimate complaints about The Times story, despite the evidence available in the public domain. There needs to be a fundamental review to ensure this never happens again.”