364/2021 - The Canary and The Skwawkbox
Publications: The Canary and The Skwawkbox
Date investigation published: 24 November 2021
Relevant clauses: Discrimination 4.3 of the IMPRESS Standards Code
Outcome: Further investigation not justified.
Executive summary of Case
1.1. IMPRESS launched its own initiated preliminary investigation into concerns levelled at two publishers regulated by IMPRESS, following the publication of an academic report titled “Antisemitism and the alternative media”; the report was authored by Dr Daniel Allington and Tanvi Joshi of Kings College London and had been commissioned by the Office of HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism.
1.2. The relevant publishers are Publisher 1: Canary Media Ltd, publisher of The Canary, an online publication that focuses on campaigning journalism and left-leaning politics, regulated by IMPRESS since 21/08/2017; and Publisher 2: The Skwawkbox, an online publication that publishes news-related material with a strong focus on UK politics and the Labour party, regulated by IMPRESS since 01/10/2017.
1.3. After assessing the material which formed the basis of the report, a Regulatory Committee was convened to decide whether the published material fell within the regulatory remit of IMPRESS, and if so, whether IMPRESS should investigate potential breaches of the Code on its own initiative.
1.4. In total IMPRESS reviewed 42 items (1 tweet and 41 articles). We did not assess any material that was first published before the Publisher entered into a regulatory scheme agreement with IMPRESS, unless our attention was drawn to specific statements that had potential to engage the Code.
1.5. The material was assessed in line with the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme and against the IMPRESS Standards Code. The relevant clause is:
Publishers must not incite hatred against any group on the basis of that group’s age, disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or another characteristic that makes that group vulnerable to discrimination.
1.6. The Committee decided that, of the material in remit, none of it reached the threshold which would engage the discrimination clause and, therefore, further investigation would be unjustified. The matter was therefore dismissed.