The Daily Mail and the Sun have been forced to eat humble pie in the court yesterday after falsely accusing Parameswaran Subramanyam, who went on a 23-day hunger strike in Parliament Square last year, of breaking his fast by eating hamburgers. His action was part of the 3 month long protests last year in Westminster during the later stages of the Sri Lankan civil war aimed at bringing about a ceasefire.
According to the Mail, a Metropolitan police surveillance team had observed him having had fast food smuggled to him during his hunger strike. The Sun repeated the story under the sneering headline 'Hunger Striker Was Lovin' It'. In court it was revealed that not only did the police not have any video evidence but that there had been no no police surveillance team using the "specialist monitoring equipment" as the Daily Mail article claimed. And in typical 'churnalistic' fashion, the Sun repeated the story without checking 'the facts'.
The legal team for the owners of both papers said that they apologised "sincerely and unreservedly" to Mr Subramanyam for the distress that had been caused and they are understood to be paying damages of £47,500 and £30,000 respectively, as well as his legal costs.
Sad to say it wont stop them from perpetrating the same sort of contemptuous thinly-veiled racist stories in the future.