The Canary has made a front page correction to a story it wrote falsely claiming that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg was a speaker at the Tory Conference in September.
The prominent correction came after press regular, Impress, on Wednesday ruled that the leftwing, pro-Jeremy Corbyn website had breached its standards code with the headline: “We need to talk about Laura Kuenssberg. She’s listed as a speaker at the Tory Party conference.”
An updated version of the article also breached the Code as it did not correct the inaccuracy with “due prominence”, Impress ruled.
The Canary article included a screengrab of the speakers’ list for an event organised by the Centre for Social Justice, the centre-right think tank founded by Iain Duncan Smith, and the Living Wage Foundation, which listed Kuenssberg as an invited speaker.
The Canary wrote: “BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg is listed as an ‘invited speaker’ at the Conservative Party conference. And the news raises questions about the impartiality of the journalist and her organisation. Again.”
It also noted that its report followed “months of accusations about Kuenssberg’s impartiality”.
The story prompted the BBC to issue a denial, tweeting that Kuenssberg was only at the Labour and Conservative conferences to “report impartially”.
Impress were not asked to investigate The Canary by Kuenssberg or her employer, rather Jamie Thunder, “a third party seeking to ensure the accuracy of published information”. The regular received an additional 51 complainants about the story, but they were referred back to the publication.
In its correction The Canary confirmed it was “misrepresenting” facts concerning Kuenssberg’s speaking engagement and conceded it had breached the standards code “in failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure accuracy prior to publication”. It also acknowledged its second error in not giving the correction of its “significant inaccuracy” “due prominence”.
Impress said in its ruling: “In misrepresenting those facts and in failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure accuracy prior to publication, The Canary breached the Impress Standards Code.”
Impress ordered The Canary to publish a correction on the top of its homepage for 48 hours and to also post it to the same social media channels as the original article.
The prominence of the apology was not lost on media commentators who pointed out how small corrections usually appear in other publications.