Press regulator IPSO has asked nine victims of libels and smears by the Jewish Chronicle for more time to decide whether it will undertake the standards investigation they have asked for. The Chronicle has been forced to pay out large sums in compensation on at least four occasions, as well as being found guilty of a string of breaches of IPSO’s code.
The victims of the publications egregious smears had asked IPSO to conduct a formal standards investigation because of multiple offences that include false accusations of: links with terrorism; bullying; lying; attempts to track down and ‘sort out’ Jews in their homes and more.
The Jewish Chronicle was found to have committed ten breaches just in the case of Liverpool pensioner Audrey White, who also received ‘substantial’ damages after taking legal action, as did Palestinian charity Interpal, black rights activist Marc Wadsworth – who told Skwawkbox that the paper had retracted or corrected false claims about him fifteen times in just five years – and Labour member Nada Al-Sanjari, for utterly untrue and deeply damaging claims about them.
IPSO was due to deliver a decision on the investigation by 12 August at the latest. However, it missed that deadline and instead contacted the complainants to advise that it had been ‘engaging with [the Chronicle] a response would be made ‘after the summer break’. But in reality IPSO itself was the first to refer the Jewish Chronicle to its standards department.
Last year, Skwawkbox reported on the paper’s compensation and apology to Audrey White and noted that the Chronicle’s conduct during IPSO’s investigation had been so dire that IPSO’s judgment stated that the investigating committee was referring the publication to the IPSO standards department. But the referral first took place in November 2019, according to Ms White – and reflected in her ‘pinned tweet’ on her Twitter profile:
Close to two years later, nothing has been done and IPSO continues to delay. Meanwhile, the right-wing press has mounted an attack on the victims and their credibility in an attempt to whitewash the Chronicle’s atrocious record.
Ms White told Skwawkbox:
The reason there were ten breaches of IPSO’s code in my case is because they failed to correct. Normally they publish a correction but my belief is that because of the election they wanted the lies about me to stay out there right up to the last minute. However, despite the ten breaches, IPSO treats this simply as a single complaint upheld. It’s been nearly two years now since an investigation was first suggested and we’re still waiting.
IPSO was contacted for comment but declined to do so except to confirm that it had received the complainants’ letter requesting the investigation and to confirm that it records even multiple breaches as a single ‘complaint upheld’.
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