The right-wing think-tank The Henry Jackson Society has apologised to Huda TV and paid the Muslim educational channel damages after falsely accusing it of having a “radical agenda.”
Huda TV brought libel proceedings against HJS after it published a report titled “Extremism on the Airwaves: Islamist broadcasting in the UK” in November 2018.
HJS said that the report “explores how Islamist extremists use our broadcast networks to further their radical agenda.” The think-tank called for Huda TV to face more regulatory intervention based on false allegations about it hosting “Islamist extremist content.”
In its apology The Henry Jackson Society said: “In the report published by the Henry Jackson Society titled ‘Extremism on the Airwaves’, authored by Emma Webb and published on 21 November 2018, and in an accompanying news release and a summary on our website, we identified Huda Television Limited as one of the channels that we stated ‘have faced an insufficient and concerning lack of regulatory scrutiny’ in the UK. In particular we stated that a number of articles appearing on the website www.huda.tv were published by Huda Television Limited and that its channel regularly publishes content containing Islamist extremist subject matter.
“This was incorrect. The articles were in fact published by a separate Egyptian based entity called Huda TV, which operates the website www.huda.tv. No such content appears on Huda Television Limited’s website (www.hudatv.co.uk).
“Further, we stated in the report that nine identified extremist speakers, whose profiles were listed on the website www.huda.tv, had appeared on Huda Television Limited’s channel. This was incorrect in relation to the majority of the speakers identified. We also accept that it was wrong to suggest that Huda Television Limited almost ubiquitously hosts well-known extremist speakers.
“We apologise to Huda Television Limited for all the incorrect statements made, and in light of this, we have agreed to pay Huda Televison Limited damages and legal costs. We also accept that these matters were not a basis for stating that Huda Television Limited should have faced greater regulatory scrutiny.”
Following the settlement Jamil Rashid, Director of Huda TV, spoke of the mental distress suffered by him and the workers at the television station since the report was published on 21st November 2018.
“The publication of the 2018 report falsely accusing Huda of extremism has had a massive effect on me personally and on the company,” he said. “The last two years have been a nightmare. The allegations that The Henry Jackson Society made were completely untrue and today’s apology has completely exonerated us. This should serve as an example to everyone, especially The Henry Jackson Society that they cannot smear anyone with lies and inaccurate reporting and if they do, they will pay a price for it.”
The HJS promotes itself as “working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and real human rights – and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world.”
But a 2015 report by Spinwatch claimed that HJS “is the leading exponent of neoconservatism in the UK today grounded in a transatlantic tradition deeply influenced by Islamophobia and an open embrace of the ‘War on Terror’.”
The report said that over time HJS had “adopted a more conservative political agenda, especially in relation to its unflinching support for Israel and the promotion of increasingly Islamophobic policies, both domestically and internationally.”