The Sun insiders worry that the publication may come under fire for “rushing into print” its initial Huw Edwards story.
An ex-Sun editor claimed the Murdoch-owned publication was in “crisis” after retracting an earlier report that claimed the BBC presenter had paid a 17-year-old for obscene images, potentially committing a crime.
The broadcaster “could face years in prison,” according to a later Sun report.
Police investigated the claim but found no evidence to back it up, leading to Edwards’s BBC suspension and a serious depressive episode that required hospitalization.
In succeeding reports, the newspaper changed its terminology to state that interaction with the presenter, rather than any money, started when the young person, now 20 years old.
“The story from the child’s parents came in on Wednesday, calls were made to the BBC, and it was ready to run on Friday,” a source close to the situation remarked. We were taken aback by how quickly it happened.
The young person at the center of the allegations of any inappropriate behavior denied the allegations, yet The Sun nonetheless published its report.
The source speculated, “Perhaps it was rushed to print; more time could have been taken to determine precisely what the Sun was alleging and make sure all the evidence was available.”
Publishers of The Sun, News UK, declined to comment on the story’s timing.
I believe that the paper was confident in its article since it had signed statements from the family and supporting documentation before publishing.
Although there was no proof that Huw had committed a crime, former Sun editor David Yelland claimed on Twitter that “The Sun inflicted terror on Huw.” This is now a paper crisis rather than a BBC crisis. Now, Huw’s privacy must be protected.
This week, a piece claiming that the Sun could “face the mother of all libel actions” was “liked” on Edwards’ Twitter account.
Ipso, a press watchdog, reported receiving “about 80 complaints, which we are evaluating,” regarding The Sun’s reporting.
A representative for Ipso stated, “We are closely monitoring the developments. The standards outlined in the Editors’ Code of Practice that IPSO-regulated publications have pledged to uphold must be considered in all reporting.
“The story now appears to be a typical sex scandal,” the insider claimed. There are worries that this will give Hacked Off and other groups more ammo to control The Sun other tabloid publications.
In fact, it seemed as though there was a rift in the united face that News UK typically presented. According to a source, The Sunday Times, a sister publication, was the one to initially raise the possibility of a criminal investigation.
A representative for News UK said: “The Sun at no point in our original story alleged criminality and also took the decision neither to name Mr. Edwards nor the young person involved in the allegations.”
“Other media outlets, including the BBC, first raised questions about potential criminality at a later time.”
I hear that The Sun’s top team, led by editor Victoria Newton, was determined to make sure the piece had “public interest” in it rather than look to be an unnecessary exposé of a celebrity’s personal life.
The Sun stands behind the information it published, which it described as being “about two very concerned and frustrated parents who complained to the BBC about the behavior of a presenter and payments from him that fueled the drug habit of a young person.”
“We stated that the parents had already visited the police, who had informed them that they were unable to assist. The parents then complained to the BBC, but nothing was done about it.
The Sun asserts to have other complaints about Edwards’ alleged behavior from BBC employees, but it won’t publish them at this time due to his condition.
The newspaper made notice of the BBC’s own belief that it is in the public interest to report on comparable accusations it has discovered.
The Sun will provide the BBC with supporting information for their inquiry, including information about an alleged journey Edwards took outside of London during lockdown to see a younger person he met on a dating app.
According to a source in the Labour Party, “It’s right that the press is held to the highest standards and are accountable for their reporting.”
After declaring its opposition to the revocation of a law that would have required news publishers to join the government-backed regulator, Labour has put itself in direct conflict with Mr. Murdoch and other newspaper publishers.