A complaint over a Mail Online article referring to some British towns as “no-go areas for white people” has been upheld by the press regulator.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) ordered the platform, which is the online version of the Daily Mail, to publish a correction accessible from its front page.
The article, published in June, reported on claims made in the book Among the Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain by former Islamist radical Ed Husain.
The author said a group of white men told him they were scared to go into “no-go areas” in Blackburn like Whalley Range, with one man saying a “gang of Asian teenagers repeatedly jumped my 12-year-old son”.
But in its ruling, Ipso said: “The headline claim that there were ‘British towns that are no-go areas for white people’ was not supported by the article. The article included no reference to a town or towns which were claimed to be off-limits to white people, and only one area within a city was described as a ‘no-go area’ for white people.”
Mail Online had defended the article by saying “no reasonable person was likely to take the claim seriously” – an argument dismissed by Ipso.
In the article, one man was quoted as saying: “If we go to Whalley Range at night-time, we’re guaranteed to get jumped. We won’t walk out of it. We won’t walk to the other end of the street.”
The Mail’s article also included an image of Didsbury beneath the headline “British towns that are no-go areas for white people: Muslim author’s study of mosques reveals children ‘attacked for being white’”.
Ipso found the article was not in breach of its code of conduct in its reporting on Didsbury, however, because it had only suggested the Manchester suburb was home to a mosque hosting a sharia court, not that it had become a “no-go area for white people”.
Sharia councils are often accused of operating a “parallel legal system” in the UK, but their rulings have no legal standing in British law and they have no enforcement powers.
On complaints the article breached clause 12 of its code which says titles must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental disability”, Ipso said it was unable to consider the issue because the complainant was not personally affected.
The Independent has asked Mail Online to comment.