Late last year, the UK Sun wrongly reported that a tax bill would cost “the average Sun reader.”
Now, the Sun, which is owned by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has published a correction for its Nov. 11 article.
The March 18 correction was published after 57 complaints to the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation. “The Committee considered that the article gave a misleading account of what someone on the median annual wage paid in income tax and national insurance contributions by using the term ‘average worker’ in the context it did and without further clarification to readers,” IPSO ruled.
The correction reads:
“An article, ‘LABOUR TAX THREAT Jeremy Corbyn’s tax bombshell would cost the average Sun reader an extra £2,400 a year’ (11 Nov), reported that the “average British worker” pays £11,000 in tax, including “over £6,000” in income tax and national insurance.
“The article suggested that these figures applied to someone on the median wage (£24,908). This was incorrect as it did not reflect the actual amount of tax and national insurance contributions paid by someone on the median wage. This correction has been published following an upheld ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.”
Corbyn is the leader of the UK Labour Party, which stands in opposition to the Murdoch-favored Conservative Party.
Several readers complained to the UK press regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), over the article, “Corb’s tax bombshell would cost the average Sun reader an extra… £2,400.”
The article reported, “at the median annual wage in Britain is £24,908 a year. The average British worker already has to pay around £11,000 a year in tax to the state, which is more than 40 per cent of average earnings, or £30 a day. Almost half of that tax bill — nearly £5,000 — is made up by indirect taxes such as VAT, fuel duty and council tax. The rest — more than £6,000 — comes from income tax and National Insurance contributions”. The article then stated that the Labour Party’s plans “would push the average worker’s total tax bill from direct and indirect levies to £13,400 a year, which is more than half their annual wage packet”.
As IPSO explained, readers were upset and said the article was inaccurate because the Labour plan hadn’t been released so there weren’t exact numbers out and the article didn’t say who was the “average Sun reader.” The Sun stood by its article, saying it was based on a previous news article and the “median annual wage.”
But, IPSO found that the article was inaccurate because it wrongly suggested that “someone on the median annual wage (£24,908) paid “£11,000 a year in tax” of which “more than £6,000” came from income tax and national insurance contributions.
“This inaccuracy was significant because it gave an incorrect account of what someone on the median annual wage pays in income tax and national insurance,” IPSO said.
iMediaEthics has written to the Sun and Corbyn.
IPSO said the Sun was “entitled to report the findings of the Conservative Party,” and added it didn’t find any problems with the reporting where it was “accurately and clearly attributed.”