Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper has published a story about BBC news presenter Huw Edwards – although without initially naming him – paying a 17 year-old £35,000 for intimate photographs with the money used to finance (his) crack-cocaine addiction. The story appears to be seriously factually flawed and published despite being informed by the young man concerned that the story was incorrect. The story clearly suggested that Edwards engaged in illegality by procuring intimate photographs from a 17 year-old when this was known to be untrue by The Sun newspaper.
Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper is facing serious questions over its reporting and ethical standards, after it alleged Edwards paid a 17-year-old for explicit images – only for police to conclude there was no evidence to support this allegation of serious criminal wrongdoing.
Days later, his wife said Edwards is in a hospital dealing with “serious mental health issues” and the newspaper is rapidly backtracking on its original story. Extraordinarily, on Wednesday night the Sun insisted its initial claim that the presenter had given a young person “more than £35,000 since they were 17 in return for sordid images” was not a suggestion of criminal activity.
Instead, the newspaper blamed other media outlets for misinterpreting its reporting and leading to the police getting involved, saying: “We must also re-emphasise that the Sun at no point in our original story alleged criminality and also took the decision neither to name Mr Edwards nor the young person involved in the allegations.”
Even before the police had cleared Edwards of illegal behaviour, doubts started to emerge over the Sun’s key allegation that he bought pictures from a 17-year-old. The young person in question, now an adult aged 20, issued a statement on Monday through their lawyer saying the allegations were “rubbish”.