The UK Daily Mail and the BBC unpublished a story about an alleged cannibalism restaurant in Nigeria.
The BBC story now carries a note admitting it was wrong to publish the story.
The statement reads:
“The story about the Nigerian restaurant which we published here was a mistake and we apologise. It was incorrect and published without the proper BBC checks. We have removed the story and have launched an urgent investigation into how this happened.
“The BBC Swahili service’s reputation for accuracy and balance remains of paramount importance to us and we are taking the appropriate steps to insure that mistakes like this do not happen again.”
The Mail, which wrote its story sourcing the BBC, unpublished after seeing the BBC do so.
It gave a statement to the Huffington Post reading:
“The story originally appeared on BBC Swahili but today they made clear that it was false, apologised for any ‘damage or inconvenience’ and removed the piece from their website. As soon as we were made aware of that we removed our own story, and published a correction for our readers.”
The Mail also wrongly used a photo from a London steak house of steak with the claims, Ad Week reported.
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The May 16 article was titled “Nigerian restaurant shut down for serving HUMAN FLESH – and had bags in kitchen containing heads that were still bleeding.”
The owner of the London restaurant complained about the Mail misusing his restaurant’s food with the story. The photo in question is the restaurant’s LinkedIn picture, the Huffington Post reported, noting that the restaurant commissioned a photographer for the image.
“Dear @MailOnline, why are you using a photo of our steak to illustrate ‘Nigerian restaurant sells human meat’? Legal?” Hawskmoor London’s Will Beckett tweeted. He then posted a tongue-in-cheek statement saying: “For clarity’s sake we don’t serve human flesh, there are no severed heads in our kitchen, and we’ve never even been nominated for ‘Nigeria’s Best Restaurant’ or ‘Cannibal Menu of the Year.'”
Beckett added to the Huffington Post that he found out about the Mail article using his restaurant’s photo when “someone sent me through the link asking if this was our steak,” which he added has “won numerous ‘best steak in the UK’ awards.”
The Mail told the Huffington Post: “The picture of the steak was clearly marked as a ‘file photo of beef steak’ when originally published and had already been removed after Hawksmoor’s concerns were brought to our attention.”
That correction states: “An article on 16 May reported that a Nigerian restaurant was shut down for serving human flesh, based on a BBC Swahili report. BBC Swahili has now confirmed that the story was incorrect and the article has now been removed from our website.”
iMediaEthics has written to the BBC, the Mail and the restaurant for comment.