The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) has settled the High Court defamation claim brought by Huda Television Ltd (Huda), an educational television channel aimed at the UK Muslim community. In addition to paying libel damages to Huda plus legal costs, HJS has published a retraction of the
allegations and an apology to Huda on the HJS website (where it will remain) and on Twitter.
Huda brought libel proceedings after HJS published a report titled “Extremism on the Airwaves:?Islamist broadcasting in the UK”, with accompanying news release and Twitter promotion, on 21 November 2018. HJS, which describes itself as “a think tank that produces expert research on the threats to our security”, said that its report “explores how Islamist extremists use our broadcast networks to further their radical agenda.” Huda’s Claim contended that HJS had called for it to face more regulatory intervention based on false allegations about it hosting Islamist extremist content.
Following a consent order, the statement issued by HJS explains that HJS had alleged that Huda’s “channel regularly publishes content containing Islamist extremist subject matter” but that HJS accepted that “This was incorrect” and “No such content appears on Huda’s website”.
HJS also admitted that it was “wrong” to claim that Huda “almost ubiquitously host well-known extremist speakers” and that its claim that nine allegedly extremist speakers had appeared on the channel “was incorrect in relation to the majority of the speakers identified” who had not appeared on Huda at all. HJS blamed a case of mistaken identity.
In its published retraction, HJS accepted that it had identified Huda “as one of the channels that we stated “have faced an ‘insufficient’ and ‘concerning’ lack of regulatory scrutiny” in the UK”, but that it now “accept[ed] that these matters were not a basis for stating that Huda Television Limited
should have faced greater regulatory scrutiny”.
HJS has stated that “We apologise to Huda Television Limited for all the incorrect statements made, and in light of this, we have agreed to pay Huda damages and legal costs”.
A link to the apology can be found here:
https://twitter.com/HJS_Org/status/1303746489638940674?s=20 and on the HJS website at https://henryjacksonsociety.org/errataandcorrigenda/
Jamil Rashid, director of Huda, spoke about his relief at the apology and payment of damages:
“The publication of the 2018 report falsely accusing Huda of extremism has had a massive effect on me personally and on the company. The last 2 years have been a nightmare. The allegations that The Henry Jackson Society made were completely untrue and today’s apology has completely exonerated us. This should serve as an example to everyone, especially The Henry Jackson Society that they cannot smear anyone with lies and inaccurate reporting and if they do, they will pay a price for it.
I would like to thank all the people who have championed me throughout this struggle for vindication, including my friends and family. I would also like to give a special thank you to the defamation team @SaracensSolicitors and Mark Henderson @DoughtyStPublic”.