March 10, 2016 – for immediate release
The National NewsMedia Council upheld a complaint about factual error in a letter to the editor published in the Toronto Star.
Jacob Mendlovic pointed out that a letter to the editor quoted Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman that “Palestinians should be drowned in the Dead Sea”. The complainant provided a link reporting Lieberman’s quote was Palestinian “prisoners” rather than “Palestinians”.
The complainant noted the Toronto Star should be aware of prejudice and anti-Jewish sentiment, and should edit or correct factual errors in letters.
The Star described the discrepancy as perspective rather than error of fact.
The National NewsMedia Council notes that letters to the editor provide a platform for public expression of diverse opinions, but must not be defamatory. The Star’s standards state that significant errors of fact should be corrected, and the NewsMedia Council believes the error in paraphrasing the quote cited is a significant one that should be acknowledged by the paper.