The publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail Online has paid out £120,000 in damages after claiming a charity supported a “hate festival” in Gaza.
The trustees of Interpal took action against Associated Newspapers over two stories published on August 2 and 15 last year which alleged the charity supported an event in Gaza where children took part in a play where they acted out the murder of Jewish people.
The charity, which was founded in 1994, provides aid to Palestinians.
Despite Interpal making a donation to the event, along with a number of other organisations, it said it did not fund or support the play nor have prior knowledge of it.
The charity added that once it became aware of the play it condemned it.
On August 15 a further article said Interpal was listed as a “specially designated global terrorist organisation”, which the charity’s legal firm, Carter Ruck, said gave readers the impression that Interpal is a terrorist organisation and its trustees are thereby considered terrorists.
Carter Ruck said the article failed to point out that the listing, which was made in 2003, has been contested by the charity and its trustees, and that the charity reject any suggestion they support or are involved with terrorism.
It added that the Charity Commission has investigated Interpal on a number of occasions, including after the US designation, and has never found a reason to alter its charitable status.
Mail Online said in its apology that it accepted “neither Interpal, nor its trustees, have ever been involved in or provided support for terrorist activity of any kind”.
Two full apologies have been published on Mail Online and prominently in the print edition of the Daily Mail.
Speaking after the resolution of the libel complaint, Ibrahim Hewitt, the chairman of Interpal’s trustees, said: “Interpal and the trustees welcome the decision taken by Associated Newspapers both to apologise formally and pay a suitable sum in damages, in recognition of the gravity of the falsehoods that were published.
“The timing and amount of the settlement are particularly noteworthy within the context of the ongoing wider agenda to politicise humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
“We hope that this significant success will encourage commentators and others to take seriously their responsibility for reporting unbiased, accurate information to the general public and service providers.”
As well as paying £120,000 in damages Associated Newspapers will pay Interpal’s legal costs.
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