The right-wing press has been running articles, evidently inspired by the Quilliam Foundation, accusing Muslim TV channels of inciting hatred against the LGBT community. (See “Muslim fanatics spouting on British TV: Extremists use fringe stations to call for terror, murder and the torture of gay people” in the Daily Mail and “Preachers of hate who spread their violent word on British TV channels” in the Sunday Telegraph.)
These reports in turn prompted a poorly worded piece to appear this week in Pink News which clearly led its readers to believe that Islam Channel had been promoting homophobic hate speech on air.
The incident at the core of the articles actually involved a Leeds-based radio station, Radio Asian Fever, which was fined £4,000 for breaching broadcasting rules in programmes involving a presenter called “Sister Ruby Ramadan”. But readers of the Pink News article were given to believe that the incident took place on Islam Channel, as is evidenced by the harsh reaction – condemnations and calls for the revocation of Islam Channel’s licence posted on the Pink News comments page.
Islam Channel’s lawyers promptly contacted Pink News and made clear that the article was defamatory and offensive and should be rectified immediately with a published apology. The result has been the prompt and complete removal of the mention of Islam Channel from a re-worded article and a published apology as follows:
“A previous version of this story was incorrect. The Islam Channel should not have been linked to the issue of homophobic hate speech in this article, and the Islam Channel would like to point out that none of its presenters have ever aired offensive views about gay people. PinkNews.co.uk sincerely apologies for any offence caused.”