The Guardian’s readers’ editor has censured the editor of its opinion desk for writing a hatchet job on anti-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz. Chris Elliott blasts David Shariatmadari’s interview as “insidious” and “wrong“:
“The editorial guidelines state clearly that if a journalist thinks there is a case to be made for using pejorative anonymous quotations the matter should be discussed with a senior editor. In this case these were discussed and the editor approved the use of the quotations… the use of anonymous quotes is an insidious way to take a swipe at public figures, and the Guardian was wrong to have used three in this way”
Intriguingly, Elliott also investigated whether the Guardian “set him up“, revealing a gushing email sent by commissioning editor Nosheen Iqbal to Nawaz prior to the piece being written. This is how Iqbal got Nawaz to take part:
“Given Maajid’s consistently dedicated work to combat extremism and the increased public awareness around Quilliam Foundation following the PM’s speech yesterday, would be great to build on that momentum and flag up the crucial work being done behind the scenes.”
You wouldn’t have guessed it would be a hit job, would you?
Judging by this tweet critcising Nawaz the day before she sent that email, Iqbal wasn’t being entirely truthful about her motives for commissioning the piece:
@aishagani don't think M**jid Nawaaz making a Harry Potter ref outlines lack of credibility; there's a lot worse that he says that does
— Nosheen Iqbal (@NosheenIqbal) July 20, 2015