Labour withdraws Ofcom complaint about Panorama expose of Party’s antisemitism
The Labour Party has apparently withdrawn its complaint to Ofcom over the Panorama investigation into antisemitism in the Party, which Labour had claimed was a “one-sided authored polemic”. Ofcom has also dismissed all other bias complaints made over the programme.
In the episode, which was titled “Is Labour Antisemitic?” and televised in July, former Labour Party employees spoke out publicly to reveal Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.
The Party submitted a 28-page complaint to the BBC, claiming that the programme failed to meet the BBC’s standards, but the BBC decided to back the makers of the episode and rejected the complaint. Labour was then able to make the complaint to Ofcom, which it did, but which it has now allegedly withdrawn.
Additionally, Ofcom has confirmed that it has dismissed all of the other bias complaints it has received over the programme. An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We assessed complaints from viewers who felt that this programme was factually inaccurate and biased. In our view, the programme was duly impartial. As well as highly critical personal testimonies, it included the Labour Party’s response prominently throughout, including in an interview with the Shadow Communities Secretary.”
The programme was shortlisted for two British Journalism Awards.
During the programme Labour’s press team made claims that the staffers featured had political axes to grind and lacked credibility, and it is understood that they and Mr Ware have now commenced libel proceedings against the Labour Party. The libel cases are being brought by Mark Lewis, a highly esteemed media lawyer who is also an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.