Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Sheehan has said he will “stand aside” after his article ‘The horrifying untold story of Louise’ was unable to substantiate claims.
Darren Goodsir, editor-in-chief of the Fairfax Media paper, issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying Sheehan will stand aside “until further notice”.
Sheehan’s column was first published February 22 and, per The Guardian, claimed the NSW Police had ignored a woman who said she’d been beaten and raped by a group of men who spoke Arabic.
The original story has been retracted from the website, with Sheehan issuing his own apology.
The statement on Friday afternoon from Goodsir said after an investigation, he “found unacceptable breaches of fundamental journalistic practice”.
The full statement is below.
“I have concluded a formal review into the column “The horrifying untold story of Louise”, published on Monday, February 22. The article has since been retracted and, on behalf of the Herald, I once again unreservedly apologise for the column and the hurt and distress it understandably caused,” said the statement.
“The formal review, which included a comprehensive examination of editorial processes, found unacceptable breaches of fundamental journalistic practice. The columnist, who has also apologised for the report and admitted this serious lapse, will stand aside from his duties until further notice.
“The Herald’s reputation is founded on the trust our readers give us to provide fair, balanced and independent journalism, and it is critical that the editorial integrity of the Herald is maintained.”