Apologise for slur, Computer Weekly editor tells Hoon

Schneider: demanding retraction

Computer Weekly editor Karl Schneider has demanded an apology from Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon after he branded the magazine’s award-winning investigations into the Chinook helicopter crash "nonsense".

During a Commons debate last week on the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre, Hoon said: "The way in which that journal hysterically pursues the subject does not give me cause to accept anything it says at face value." Computer Weekly’s campaign has attracted crossbench support in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Its investigations led two parliamentary committees to call for the verdict blaming pilot error to be overturned.

In a letter to the Defence Secretary, Schneider writes: "We take pride in the work that we have done to clear the names of flight lieutenants Tapper and Cook, the pilots who were unjustly found guilty of gross negligence after their deaths in the crash. But we also take great pride in our accuracy and fairness.

"If you have any evidence that anything Computer Weekly has written on this matter is inaccurate, misleading or biased, we would be happy to receive it. If we have misled our readers, we will print a correction. Otherwise, I would like you to retract what you said and apologise for the slur it implies on the journalism and integrity of Computer Weekly’s award-winning editorial team." Schneider told Press Gazette: "We always offered to present the information off the record to ministers but they refused to meet us. It’s just astonishing. If Hoon had said that outside Parliament I’d be getting advice from my lawyers about suing."

By Ruth Addicott

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