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An analysis of 44 articles on Iran written by Coughlin was found to have "some stark patterns in terms of his journalistic technique." These included that sources were unnamed or untraceable and were published to coincide when there had been a relatively positive diplomatic moves towards Iran.
Britain's Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is launching an investigation into the accuracy of latest article by the executive editor of The Daily Telegraph Con Coughlin that makes unsubstantiated allegations about Iran. The investigation is believed to be the third to be conducted by the PCC in as many months about Coughlin, after writing at least sixteen articles containing anonymously-sourced claims that have demonised the image of Iran in the past twelve months. According to Campaign Iran, which made the latest complaint, the PCC will examine whether the stories, all based on unnamed or untraceable sources, are in breach of Clause 1 of their Code of Practice, requiring accuracy. Professor Abbas Edalat, who helped to found Campaign Iran, said that quoting unnamed sources has always been an essential aspect of news reporting. "But Coughlin is abusing the practice in order to give substance to otherwise implausible political stories," said the professor of mathematics at Imperial College London. Even though they were unsubstantiated, he warned that the malicious articles were then "repeated as fact" on news outlets and websites across the world. The latest complaint is over his allegations made in the Daily Telegraph on January 24 in which he quoted an unnamed European defense official accusing Iran of working closely with North Koreans to study the results of last year's nuclear bomb test. Under the PCC code on accuracy, the press in Britain "must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures." It also calls for any significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion to be corrected promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - with a published apology. The code also states that while the press is free to be partisan, it "must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact." Over the past two months, the Daily Telegraph has also received two official complaints from the Iranian Embassy in London over its executive editor's reports. An analysis of 44 articles on Iran written by Coughlin was found to have "some stark patterns in terms of his journalistic technique." These included that sources were unnamed or untraceable and were published to coincide when there had been a relatively positive diplomatic moves towards Iran. The articles are also portrayed as disclosing exclusive revelations about Iran combined with eye-catching, controversial headlines, which most of the article focused on other, often unrelated, information. During the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, Coughlin was also attributed to have "broke the story" of Saddam Hussein's 45 minute capacity to launch weapons of mass destruction, that were proved to be false but were used to justify the war.

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