Journal cleared of wrongdoing in handling of New Westminster story

By on September 1, 1999

The Anglican Journal has been cleared by its General Synod sub-committee of an allegation of “unethical journalism” levelled by Bishop Michael Ingham and the communications committee of the Diocese of New Westminster, B.C.

In the wake of a story published in April concerning remarks Bishop Ingham made during his annual eucharist and meeting with members of Integrity in Vancouver, the diocese’s communications committee wrote the Journal sub-committee saying the story was published “without verification of the facts ? .” As a result, the committee said, the story “has caused needless distress to the people of this diocese.”

Bishop Ingham wrote a letter to the editor on the same subject, which was published in the May issue of the Journal. He also wrote his clergy and members of diocesan council in which he referred to the committee’s letter as “protesting this unethical journalism.”

After receiving expert opinion, the sub-committee said in a reply to the diocesan communications committee dated May 12, that “the article ? is substantially accurate, that due care was taken in its writing and editing, and that there was no intent to mislead or cause distress in the Diocese ? .”

The editor “has admitted that the article might have benefitted from more explanation of the sources, and, indeed, he has done so in the May edition,” wrote sub-committee chairman, Rev. Keith Denman.

Mr. Denman noted no one suggested the statements attributed to Bishop Ingham in the article were false. “These statements were already in the public domain, and we stand by Mr. Harris’ decision to publish the article.”

Despite receiveing a copy of the decision, Bishop Ingham, in a July letter to the Anglican Journal denying his permission for the paper to conduct its annual appeal in the diocese, says, “I myself have been treated unethically by the Journal.”

The Journal sub-committee consists of four people drawn from the Information Resources Committee. The majority of committee members are appointed by General Synod; the Primate fills the remaining positions.

Part of the sub-committee’s mandate from General Synod is to “receive and deal with any complaints or concerns about the content of the Journal.”

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