Reaping and Sowing

One of the common trends in the social media world we live in is the tendency among some to exaggerate a particular position or sometimes to simply outright lie. Occasionally, just occasionally, this doesn’t work as intended.

Maybe this illustrates the trend in action.

Journalist John Ware has prevailed in the first round of his proceedings for libel against two senior members of Jewish Voice for Labour.

He claims JVL defamed his reputation as a professional journalist over the BBC Panorama programme that investigated anti-Semitism within Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

The day after transmission JVL’s media officer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissii told the Jeremy Vine show’s 1.4 million listeners on BBC Radio 2 that Ware had “ a terrible record of Islamophobia, far right politics, he’s been disciplined at – BBC has had to apologise.”

At a hearing to decide the ordinary meaning of her words, Wimborne- Idrissi argued they were just “honest opinion.”

However, Mrs Justice Steyn has ruled that reasonable listeners would have understood they were assertions of fact that Ware had “engaged in Islamophobia and extreme, far right politics, as a consequence of which the BBC has had to apologise for his conduct.” Listeners would also have understood that Wimborne-Idrissi was saying there were “reasonable grounds to suspect” that Ware “has an extensive record of Islamophobia and of involvement in extreme, far right politics.”

Ware says he has never been disciplined for anything by the BBC, is not an Islamophobe and has never engaged in “far right politics.”

The case will now proceed to trial, and Wimborne-Idrissi will have to try to prove that what she said was true. Ware is adamant that it is not.

The Jewish Chronicle has the story here.