The Mail on Sunday has published a clarification on a “misleading” claim about grooming gangs made in an opinion piece by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
But press regulator IPSO said the newspaper had not breached the Editors’ Code of Practice despite publishing the “misleading” claim because it had attempted to check it pre-publication and promptly offered a clarification after receiving complaints.
Braverman wrote in April that the “perpetrators” of group-based child sexual exploitation were “almost all British-Pakistani”.
In fact, Home Office research from 2020 found that offenders of child sexual exploitation were “most commonly white” and there is no proven link between ethnicity and this type of offending.
The Mail on Sunday argued to IPSO that it was entitled to rely on information provided by the Home Secretary about the ethnicities of perpetrators as she leads the department responsible for tackling grooming gangs.
It also revealed that when the article was being drafted it queried the claim with advisors to both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister and was told there was no concern over that line.
After the article was published and complaints were sent in, the Mail on Sunday again checked it with the Home Secretary whose representative said she had been referring to three high-profile grooming gangs in particular – those in Rotherham, Rochdale and Telford.
The newspaper then offered to publish a clarification, which has now been published following the conclusion of an IPSO investigation.
The Centre for Media Monitoring, chosen as the lead complainant by IPSO in this case, has since produced a report claiming there were “significant failings” in the way TV outlets picked up on Braverman’s false claim.
It found that 40% of mainstream TV coverage, excluding GB News, failed to give context by referencing the Home Office report contradicting the claim.
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