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Record complaints for Sun UK Muslim 'jihadi sympathy' story

2015-11-24 23:37:14

Sun Newspaper

The new press regulator has received a record number of complaints about a Sun story which claimed nearly one in five UK Muslims has "sympathy for jihadis".

The Independent Press Standards Organisation said more than 1,200 people made contact over the front page piece, based on a poll by Survation.

The Sun said it had "published the poll's findings clearly and accurately, including the questions in full".

Pollsters Survation defended its work but not how it had been interpreted.

IPSO said most of the complaints were made under the accuracy clause of itseditors' code which says newspapers "must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information".

'Sensationalising'

The Sun's story, based on a survey carried out after the Paris terrorist attacks, was published on Monday. It said figures have emerged showing nearly one in five British Muslims had sympathy for those who had fled the UK to fight for the Islamic State group in Syria.

But the Muslim Council of Britain, which represents mosques, schools and other associations in Britain, said the question posed had been about foreign fighters generally, "not the murderous death cult of Daesh or ISIS specifically, or indeed 'Jihadis' in general".

The MCB accused The Sun of "sensationalising" the poll's findings, adding: "As we know, foreign fighters belong to various backgrounds, fighting the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and some are supported by the UK."

'Worthy of discussion'

Survation said it had asked respondents whether they had "sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria".

It said the poll was "broadly representative and meets acceptable methodological standards for media publication" but it would be looking at whether there were "improvements" it could make in future work.

Survation said there was a "distinction between the work we do and how clients chose to present this work".

"Neither the headline nor the body text of articles published were discussed with or approved by Survation prior to publication," the pollster added in a statement.

The Sun said it was "surprised" by comments from Survation and had discussed and agreed the question with the pollster in advance of the survey.

It said it was not for a polling company to endorse the editorial interpretation of a survey.

"The fact remains that a significant minority of Muslims have sympathy for the actions of extremists," it said. "That is a subject worthy of discussion and the Sun believes that it must be appropriate for that conversation to take place."

IPSO, the independent press regulator, was established on 8 September in 2014 after the Press Complaints Commission was wound up.

It rules on whether newspaper and magazines have breached its editors' code and can request publications to print prominent corrections or critical adjudications when they are judged to have breached its code.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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