Henry Jackson Society pays libel damages to Muslim TV channel over false extremism claims

High Court UK

A Muslim television channel has been awarded damages and an apology
following defamation action against a foreign policy think-tank which
accused it of having a ‘radical agenda’.

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) published an apology and retracted its
comments about Huda Television Ltd, an educational television channel
aimed at the UK Muslim community.

Huda, represented by Saracens, brought libel proceedings against HJS after it published a report titled “Extremism on the Airwaves: Islamist
broadcasting in the UK” on November 21 2018.

HJS said that the report “explores how Islamist extremists use our
broadcast networks to further their radical agenda”.

Huda’s Claim contended that HJS had called for it to face more
regulatory intervention based on false allegations about it hosting
Islamist extremist content.

Following a consent order, the statement issued by HJS explains that HJS
had alleged that Huda’s “channel regularly publishes content containing
Islamist extremist subject matter” but that HJS accepted that “this was
incorrect” and “no such content appears on Huda’s website”.

HJS also admitted that it was “wrong” to claim that Huda “almost
ubiquitously host well-known extremist speakers” and that its claim that
nine allegedly extremist speakers had appeared on the channel “was
incorrect in relation to the majority of the speakers identified” who
had not appeared on Huda at all.

HJS blamed a case of mistaken identity.

In its published retraction, HJS accepted that it had identified Huda
“as one of the channels that we stated “have faced an ‘insufficient’ and
‘concerning’ lack of regulatory scrutiny” in the UK”, but that it now
“accept[ed] that these matters were not a basis for stating that Huda
Television Limited should have faced greater regulatory scrutiny”.

HJS stated: “We apologise to Huda Television Limited for all the
incorrect statements made, and in light of this, we have agreed to pay
Huda damages and legal costs.”

Jamil Rashid, director of Huda, said: “The publication of the 2018
report falsely accusing Huda of extremism has had a massive effect on me
personally and on the company.

“The last two years have been a nightmare.

“The allegations that The Henry Jackson Society made were completely
untrue and today’s apology has completely exonerated us.

“This should serve as an example to everyone, especially The Henry
Jackson Society that they cannot smear anyone with lies and inaccurate
reporting and if they do, they will pay a price for it.

“I would like to thank all the people who have championed me throughout
this struggle for vindication, including my friends and family. I would
also like to give a special thank you to the defamation team
@SaracensSolicitors and Mark Henderson @DoughtyStPublic.”

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