Croatian Minister Forces Apology from The Sun, Reporter Admits Lies, Editorial Policy Changed

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A sensational exclusive by The Sun at the weekend, an apology and change of policy just days later.

Days after its sensational exclusive on how an investigative reporter managed to get unchecked from Turkey to Paris, The Sun newspaper has not only removed the story from its website, but also apologised for its fabrication, reports The Guardian on December 8, 2015.

The apology, on page 2 of today’s newspaper, says The Sun was misled by freelancer Emile Ghessen’s report in which he talked of passing undetected through Croatia by hiding in the train toilet and leaving the door open. This provoked an angry response from Croatian Interior Minister Ratko Ostojic, who not only stated that he had been checked on entering and leaving Croatia, but also that he left by plane for Paris, producing a copy of his passport as proof. 

The minister’s claims attracted media attention, and The Sun quickly moved to take down the story. The Guardian reports that The Sun had been in subsequent contact with Mr. Ghessen about the claims:

“Sun insiders say that when confronted with this evidence on Sunday, Ghessen confessed that he had flown from Croatia to Paris in order to deal with a “domestic trauma” possibly involving his children rather than take the train. Yet instead of telling his paymasters the truth about the journey, the Sun says Ghessen simply made up the account of taking “ a series of trains up to Paris, dodging the guards on the way” and hiding in unlocked toilets.”

The episode will also lead to a change in policy at The Sun:

“We apologise for publishing misleading information. We have now changed our policy regarding the use of freelancers.”


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