Is this the best human rights correction ever? Or the worst? – UK Human Rights Blog

Have a look at this, published by the UK Human Rights Blog today:

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“Even by the usual brazen standards of human rights reporting, this correction from the Daily Mail stands out. Obviously, we weren’t meant to take Richard Littlejohn’s August 2014 comment piece seriously, it being semi-rabid comment bait, but surely the article should have included a health warning to that effect?

“In ‘seriousness’, the Mail’s response to the false claim that “Others have won the ‘right’ to heroin and gay porn behind bars” is pathetic. The claim which has been corrected was not presented as a joke and it would not have been understood as one.”

The article concludes: “Human rights myths are sticky and the damage is usually done and the myth well spread before a newspaper is forced to correct its story. Well done to lawyer Shaoib M Khan for getting some kind of response from the newspaper.”

One point it has missed – and it’s a serious matter – is the following:

If nobody had complained, the Daily Mail would not have published its correction and people would still have some justification for believing Littlejohn’s statement to be correct.

Human rights myths are sticky, and it can be very hard to repair the damage done. The fact that (at the time the image was made) only 16 people had shared the article rams this point home.

That is why it is vital that any false claims such as this – which impacts on Chris Grayling’s plan to repeal the Human Rights Act and remove the UK from the jurisidiction of the European Court of Human Rights – must be found, corrected and publicised.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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