Last year, the UK Daily Telegraph published a report alleging “Islamic activists” were trying to to thwart “Prevent,” the UK government’s anti-terror campaign. As evidence, the Telegraph named two people the newspaper said were Islamic activists hyping negative stories about the Prevent campaign. The Telegraph went even further by suggesting that one of the two people named (Haras Ahmed) was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The article appears to have been unpublished and as of this week, the Telegraph has apologized to both individuals and agreed to pay them money for the errors. The Telegraph‘s original Jan. 31, 2016 story was headlined, “Muslim extremists’ ‘campaign of lies’ to undermine the government’s fight against terror.” iMediaEthics has written to the Telegraph to confirm the article was unpublished, how the story went wrong, and if there are any other legal actions or complaints remaining against the article.
This month, the Daily Telegraph‘s apology appeared in print and online after calling Haras Ahmed an Islamist extremist in the article. The Telegraph is also paying him £20,000, according to Press Gazette, which quoted Ahmed through his lawyers as saying he is “very pleased that the Telegraph has apologised for what it accepts are completely baseless allegations.” iMediaEthics has written to Ahmed’s lawyers at Carter Ruck to ask if he first sought a retraction or correction and if he has any other lawsuits ongoing regarding media coverage of him.
The Telegraph‘s Aug. 6 apology to Ahmed reads:
“In an article on 31 January 2016 “Muslim extremists’ ‘campaign of lies’ to undermine the government’s fight against terror”, we referred to Haras Ahmed in the context of Islamist extremists seeking to undermine the government’s Prevent strategy.
“The article suggested Mr Ahmed had, in an interview with the BBC, presented himself as an ordinary parent when in fact he was engaged in a campaign to undermine the government’s anti-terrorism policy.
“We accept that Mr Ahmed’s BBC interview was given in good faith. We also accept that, whilst he is critical of the Prevent strategy (elements of which he believes are highly discriminatory), he does not support Islamist extremists and is in no way himself an extremist.
“We apologise to him for any distress caused by the article.”
Last fall, the newspaper apologized to Ifhat Smith after falsely claiming she was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an Islamic activist. In an Oct. 29, 2016 apology, the Telegraph said it was paying her “appropriate compensation” for the article.
The Telegraph apology to Smith states: