The Guardian‘s 2018 story claiming there was a “plot” to “smuggle” Julian Assange to Moscow was misleading, the Guardian now admits.
The admission came after the Guardian‘s review panel ruled on a complaint from Fidel Narvaez, a former Ecuadorian diplomat at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The Guardian pointed iMediaEthics to its footnote at the bottom of the article in question.
The Guardian posted a Dec. 22 correction and clarification that reads:
“Last year, the Guardian reported on a plan to transfer Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London to Ecuador’s embassy in Moscow by making Assange a member of the Ecuadorian embassy staff, first in London and then in Russia. Giving Assange diplomatic status would have allowed him to leave the Ecuadorian embassy, where he was a fugitive from UK justice. Assange, Ecuador and Russia were all parties to the plan, which was abandoned after the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office refused to recognise Assange as a member of the embassy staff. Our report should have avoided the words “smuggle” and “plot” since they implied that diplomatic immunity in itself was illicit. The Guardian’s Review Panel has issued a ruling on this article, available online at gu.com/narvaez-decision (Revealed: Russia’s Christmas Eve plot to smuggle Assange out of UK, 22 September 2018, page 3).”
The article itself also notes that it has been updated to remove “smuggle” and “plot.” That correction and footnote reads:
“This article was amended on 20 December 2019 to omit the words “smuggle” and “plot” from the headline and text. They should have been avoided because they implied that diplomatic immunity is itself illicit. The Guardian’s independent standards Review Panel has issued a ruling on this article.”
For details on the review panel ruling and complaint, the decision is on the Guardian‘s website.
Hat Tip: Press Gazette