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Secretariat vigorously rebuts series of ‘misleading and untruthful media allegations’

5 February 2017

The Commonwealth Secretariat has complained to the press standards watchdog, IPSO, about a series of articles concerning the Secretariat and the Secretary-General published by the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Mail Online.

Both the Secretariat and the Secretary-General say the allegations made over the past nine months are untruthful, misleading and improper. These claims have sought to discredit both the Secretariat and the Secretary-General, and others associated with them.  These allegations are strongly denied.

In a separate move, the organisation has been in discussions with the BBC since the publication of an online article which erroneously claimed that, amongst other things, that the UK government ‘has drafted in senior officials to support the Commonwealth amid concerns over the way it is being run’.

The article and radio broadcast make allegations, which are demonstrably inaccurate, made without foundation and irresponsible, which the Secretariat and Secretary-General refute.

A spokesman said, “This isn’t about trying to curb press and media freedom. We believe that the newspapers and the Mail Online have written a series of misleading and inaccurate articles about the Secretariat and Secretary-General Scotland since she took office in April 2016, which are untrue.

“When asked, we have given the correct facts and rebutted the false allegations made. But Associated Newspapers, has continued to print untruthful stories despite our rejecting everything it has put to us and providing information to the contrary. We now have no choice but to complain formally to IPSO.

“When it comes to the BBC, we were surprised and disappointed that it chose to irresponsibly follow suit and published similar inaccurate, and misleading claims, on its news site and on air, and consumed by a world-wide audience.”