PRESS RELEASE: Victims of press abuse: Kavanagh should be sacked by IPSO
Trevor Kavanagh’s position is untenable, even at a sham regulator, says Hacked Off.
Hacked Off calls for Sun Associate Editor Trevor Kavanagh to be sacked from the board of IPSO come after IPSO finds that he had written false and misleading figures about child asylum seekers,[i] and that The Sun had failed to provide a promised correction when it was pointed out, and that he had victimised a target of his paper’s vitriol for complaining.
Commenting, Hacked Off Joint Executive Director Dr Evan Harris said,
“The public will never consider IPSO acceptable as a regulator until it is recognised as independent and effective by the independent audit body, but it will not even be remotely credible while it has Trevor Kavanagh on its board. It’s like putting Dracula in charge of investigating thefts from a blood bank.
Worse still, Mr Kavanagh was accused in the same column of victimising Fatima Manji, the Channel 4 News Presenter, who had complained to the regulator about a Kelvin McKenzie column in the same newspaper by attacking her for making the complaint. The Complaints Committee refused to look into the complaint, because the Editors Code does not cover victimisation.
But four months after the complaint, IPSO have since published a statement that claims he has apologised for the victimisation (but not the code breach) but fails to name Kavanagh, or set out the terms of the apology.
Astonishingly, the apology is not directed to the victim of the breach, but to IPSO which was itself guilty of failing to prevent the episode.
“The fact that he has apologised, in secret terms, to IPSO and not to Fatima Manji shows that neither nor IPSO have the first clue who the victim is here. The statement from IPSO did not dare even mention Kavanagh by name
“It is farcical that when the code is breached, IPSO will require an apology to their board but are both unwilling and unable to secure apologies for the victims of lies and abuse as Leveson had recommended.”
Emily Brothers was another victim of press misconduct, and complained that she was victimised in The Sun (again) by Rod Liddle in his column after she had submitted a complaint about a previous column[iii]. Once again, IPSO failed to do anything about it and they clearly have no policy to prevent newspapers bullying those who dare raise their head above the parapet to make a complaint.
Dr Harris said,
“No normal regulator would fail twice to look into an allegation of victimisation of a complainant as IPSO have done in their ruling on Ms Manji today, and no other regulator would tolerate a sitting Director doing this.”
Trevor Kavanagh admitted[ii] long after the Hillsborough Inquiry panel, that he had contributed to the infamous “The Truth” headline in The Sun.
Dr Harris said,
“Kavanagh admitted eventually that he was a contributor to the notorious “The Truth” story, which libelled an entire city and demonized the victims of a tragedy, and yet still IPSO felt he was the best journalist to put on their board. The truth is that the industry effectively appoints half the board, and Trevor Kavanagh was on the body that selected the Appointments Panel that later appointed… Trevor Kavanagh.”
“It was totally inappropriate for Mr Kavanagh to be appointed in the first place given his role as a serving editor at a national newspaper, his involvement with “The Truth” story, and the fact that he was on the IPSO Appointments Panel, but then this is a body designed to retain power in the hands of a few press executives and editors to avoid any external accountability.
“Kavanagh’s original appointment was profoundly offensive to anyone affected by the Hillsborough disaster, but the fact that even press-poodle IPSO’s Complaints Committee have found against him makes his position untenable.
He should be sacked with immediate effect and IPSO ought to apologise to the Hillsborough families and to Ms Manji”
Hacked Off is the campaign for a free and accountable press. The Campaign works with victims of press abuse to achieve those aims.
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[i] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2035066/gary-lineker-forgets-that-were-not-racist-we-just-dont-like-being-conned [iii] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jun/04/ipso-sun-trans-media-watch-rod-liddle-emily-brothers [ii] https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/apr/26/how-the-suns-truth-about-hillsborough-unravelled