Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sir Alan sues the Sun.

January 7, 2009.
A memorable 'scoop'
the paper might prefer
It was removed
from Sun's website.

BUSINESSMAN and TV star Sir Alan Sugar has reportedly begun a legal action against the Sun over a front-page story that alleged he was on a "terror hit list" of prominent Jews in Britain. A report in the Guardian media section on Monday says he has issued a writ against News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News International, and publisher of the Sun, and against Rebekah Wade, its editor.

The tabloid's story on January 7 claimed that Muslim extremists were drawing up a list of British Jews to be "targeted" in retaliation for Israel's onslaught on Palestinians in Gaza. The source for the story appeared to be remarks on a Muslim internet discussion site, as interpreted by a "terrorism expert" called Glen Jenvey whom the Sun consulted. Both the interpretation and the authenticity of the person posting the remarks were questioned, and the Press Complaints Commission is investigating. Though widely quoted abroad, the story was removed from the Sun's own website.

Sir Alan, who established Essex-based electronics firm Amstrad, and was chair of Tottenham Hotspurs from 1991- 2001, is best known now for the BBC 1 TV programme 'The Apprentice. According to the Guardian "The businessman and TV star is understood to have been angry at the story, which he felt risked his personal security".

Coming on the same day as news that 40 children had been killed in an Israeli attack in Gaza, this story of a "terror plot" in Britain was a handy diversion. But Sir Alan Sugar's concern for his personal security echoes a point we have made before. Supposedly warning of attacks, this story could endanger community relations; and at a time of tension and strong feelings, risk putting an idea and false connections in the minds of young people, such as to create a real danger. Has there been any comment from the Board of Deputies of the British Jews, or the Community Security Trust, about this? Or are they leaving it up to an individual?

The Sun' s expert Glen Jenvey has apparently widened his sights, accusing those who questioned his story, the Guardian and the Press Complaints Commission of aiding international terror. It remains to be seen whether the Sun will call this expert witness to its defence, or tell him in the immortal words of Sir Alan, to those who fail to make the grade on his TV show: "YOU'RE FIRED!"

Thanks to
for keeping abreast of this story.

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