The UK Daily Mail sent “strongly worded disciplinary notes” to seven staff members over a problematic story about a man wrongly accused of having a bomb.
UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation slammed the Mail for significant errors and insufficient corrections in that December 2017 article, headlined “Another Human Rights Fiasco.” The Daily Mail reported that an Iraqi citizen named Abd Al-Waheed had been caught by authorities with a bomb. But, in fact, that claim was inaccurate.
“The newspaper said that a major internal investigation was conducted, and as a result, strongly worded disciplinary notes were sent to seven senior members of staff, making clear that if errors of the same nature were to happen again, their careers would be at risk,” IPSO reported.
While the Mail defended its article as accurately reporting on the allegation and court records, it was “significantly misleading” to not report that the allegation was discredited. (Al-Waheeed claimed British soldiers were actually looking for a relative of his, not him.)
The Mail also failed “to take care over the accuracy of the article” when it reported Al-Waheed got £33,000 from the Ministry of Defence for being detained too long. While Al-Waheed did receive £33,000, only about £3,000 was for “unlawful detention.” The bulk of the money was because he was beaten and treated poorly.
While the Mail did end up publishing two corrections for its reporting, the newspaper also failed to give the corrections “due prominence.” Further, IPSO found that the corrections themselves were problematic because the Mail‘s correction wording “suggested that this was a matter of interpretation, or clarification, rather than that the article contained a factual inaccuracy.”
The Mail also must publish the IPSO ruling in its first four pages of the print edition, and publish the headline of the IPSO ruling on its front page. iMediaEthics has written to the Mail for more information about how the errors occurred and how the seven disciplinary notes were worded.