Call to investigate the Jewish Chronicle for ‘serious and systemic breaches’ of code

JVL Introduction

We repost a letter to IPSO Board members, signed by nine victims of misreporting by the Jewish Chronicle.

The letter argues that the JC’s editorial standards “are shockingly low and IPSO’s actions to date have made no difference.” It supports a call from Cllr Jo Bird – one of those affected – for a Standards Investigation, something which “can take place where there is evidence of ‘serious and systemic breaches of the code’.”

IPSO’s letter responding to Cllr Bird’s request says: “We are currently reviewing the concerns you have raised and will reply in full within the next 14 days.”

We accompany the letter with a table listing 13 cases against the JC which have been reported to IPSO between July 2018 and July 2021.

It includes the number of breaches found in each case and the remedy prescribed with links to the IPSO judgments or the JC’s various apologies.

While the letter refers to 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code our listing below makes it 31…


4 August: See also Brian Cathcart’s article Will the Independent Press Standards Organisation ever uphold any standards? in the Byline Times

Update January 3, 2022: Read the pdf Case for IPSO Standards Investigation into the JC

The letter to IPSO

Dear Lord Faulks,

We welcome IPSO’s agreement to consider Jo Bird’s proposal for a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle and we urge you to launch such an investigation without delay. With 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years, it is clear that the paper’s editorial standards are shockingly low and IPSO’s actions to date have made no difference.

We have all either seen our complaints to IPSO about the Jewish Chronicle’s bad journalism upheld or secured admissions of libel from the paper. Unless standards there improve there will be more victims, while readers will continue to be misled.

IPSO’s regulations say a Standards Investigation can take place where there is evidence of ‘serious and systemic breaches of the code’. The seriousness of the breaches by the Jewish Chronicle is attested to in IPSO’s own rulings while the sheer number of breaches and libel defeats – taking place at a small publication that appears only weekly – proves the problem is systemic.

We would be grateful if you would circulate this letter to all IPSO board members and to senior management.


Cllr Jo Bird
John Davies
Ibrahim Hewitt
Jenny Lennox
Kal Ross
Mike Sivier
Thomas Suarez
Marc Wadsworth
Audrey White

Table of complainants to IPSO and links to the outcomes of their complaints

Click on the image below to sharpen it. Download it as a PDF here.

Comments (13)

  • Amanda Sebestyen says:

    Belatedly I have realised that one of the successful complainants is the John Davies who I worked with in the 1990s, bringing artists to Tuzla in Bosnia to show solidarity with that multi-ethnic city. We disagreed over some of the details (not being members of the same organisation – or any, in my case) but it was a valuable trip. At least one of the artists, Herve Constant, has continued his international work in Armenia and other places. Ironically his very moving portrait of Paul Celan has just been published in the Jewish Chronicle! Anyway, congratulations to John and all the other complainants and here’s hoping for a successful outcome.

  • Dave says:

    All very well but I think the Mail, Sun and Express have far more rulings against them. And they’d have a lot more if they’d didn’t employ lawyers to check stuff.

  • Dee Coombes says:

    The JC must be an embarrassment to the majority of Jews in this country.

  • Mary Davies says:

    Brilliant work JVL.

  • Doug says:

    IPSO is very much like Trident, neither a deterrent or independent
    Democracy is the least worst option and depends heavily on a so called Free Press, my question for JVL is what needs to change
    Put together a manifesto commitment so we are ready to go and hopefully this will act as a counterbalance to the inevitable onslaught from MSM and toilet papers

  • Ian Kemp says:

    not before time the JC is a absolute disgrace to journalism with its prejudice and bias

  • Caroline Carney says:

    All of the JC stories are printed in the JN too with the same writer’s name on most of them. This seems quite deliberate because most editors would sack someone who loses them so much money. But the two papers are used by their owners as the strong right hand of whatever the policy on Palestine is now in the Israeli government. So they will continue to libel and muck spread whilst shouting “we are the voice of the community” How about setting up another paper online with the truth and some common sense.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Here’s what it says on IPSOs website about Standards Investigations:

    In the section headed ‘IPSO can impose one or more of the following sanctions if it decides that the concerns are sufficiently serious’, it says that IPSO can impose a fine of up to £1 million. Well IPSO must be well aware of the Jewish Chronicle’s track record, so why have they waited until now – and only as a consequence of many of those who have been smeared writing to them – to take action. If they had threatened the JC with a large fine at some point in the past few years if they re-offend, then surely THAT would have acted as a deterrent, and deterred the JC from doing so.

    I’m not familiar with ALL the names in the table of complainants (in the above article), but all of those that I AM familiar with, just happen to be on the left. In other words, any investigation that IPSO carries out shouldn’t solely be about the individual cases, but ALSO about the deliberate campaign of smearing LP members (or Palestinian activists and/or supporters). And needless to say, the only reason the JC set out to smear the likes of Jo and Audrey and Mark, for example, is because Jeremy was leader of the LP, and the smears concocted and contrived to reflect badly on him.

  • Allan Howard says:

    The following is from a Press Gang piece about the Audrey White case (and it’s the last bit in particular that I want to draw attention to):

    THE MOST serious allegation against Audrey White was that she had lied in order to join the Labour Party in 2015. Jewish Chronicle Political Editor Lee Harpin claimed she’d been expelled in the 1980s as part of Neil Kinnock’s purge of Militant Tendency members.

    When she joined the party in 2015, after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader, Harpin said she’d given a false date of birth. In fact, the Labour Party could find no record of anyone called Audrey White ever being expelled. And when she joined the party in 2015 she had given her date of birth correctly.

    It was only when she renewed her membership in August 2016 that she mistakenly entered an incorrect date. However, this was ignored by Labour’s administration and her membership continued to record the correct date of birth.

    “What’s important to note here,” White told Press Gang, “is that elements in the Labour Party machine had access to the mistake I made with my date of birth in 2016 — and made it available to the Jewish Chronicle in order to smear me.”

  • Allan Howard says:

    HackedOff (in April this year):

    ‘IPSO flounders after damning report exposes its impotence’

    It feels like only yesterday that the largest newspaper groups were claiming to have set up, in IPSO, the “toughest [regulator] in the Western world” with the power to award “fines of up to £1million”.

    That was in 2014. But as far as the press are concerned it might as well have been yesterday, because in the last six years IPSO has not fined a newspaper so much as 50p, let alone a million pounds.

    Who would have thunk it!!!

  • Steven Bliss says:

    I share the scepticism about IPSO. I have submitted several complaints about accuracy in the Times and Sunday Times, all to do with the reporting of Israel or alleged antisemitism, and they have consistently bent over backwards to assert that nothing was wrong. For instance a headline ‘Corbyn aide shares platform with antisemite’ – the man in question wasn’t a Corbyn aide, and the person he shared a platform with wasn’t an antisemite, but IPSO found nothing wrong. The only purpose of IPSO is to make it LOOK LIKE we have an independent press regulator.

  • Doug says:

    I went to the JC website and ended up reading the latest article by Jonathan Friedland on the subject of Ben and Jerry’s
    JVL save my sanity again, is this the same man who poured petrol on vexatious claims of anti semitism against JC because there was nothing in his article I could disagree with
    A man of reason and a light at the end of a very dark tunnel, weaponising AS no no not me, who is the real JF and fair play JC published it
    My advice contact him and arrange a debate on Newsnight just to see how genuine he really is

  • Margaret West says:

    Regarding the case of Audrey White – the IPSO ruling
    came out at the end of November 2019 – during the Election campaign.

    I did a search and could find no report in the MSM about the ruling – in spite of the implications it had on the Panorama report.

    Did the Labour Party attempt to publicise this at the time or when damages were awarded – I have no idea or if not why not!

Comments are now closed.