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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Reaction: Mirror editor sacked
Daily Mirror photo of alleged abuse
The Daily Mirror has accepted the photos were fake
The sacking of Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan over the fake Iraqi abuse photos has been broadly welcomed by the military, politicians and members of the media.

But some say the tabloid's front page apology is not the end of the row.

Peter Oborne, political editor of the Spectator, said the Mirror had been in an impossible situation and "had paid very honourably and correctly".

But he added serious questions would now have to be asked.

"Ministers were rightly angry about these photographs and it was something they had to pursue," he said.

"But it raises an important issue after WMD. We now have three major media scalps - the BBC chief executive and chairman, and the editor of the Daily Mirror but not one government scalp, despite the fact not a single weapon of mass destruction has been found".

There are so many questions that have been raised by this story and they need to be put to bed
Bob Satchwell

Bob Satchwell, Director of the Society of Editors, said the lesson was to check, check and check again and to "always get it right".

But he added Piers Morgan's mistake should now be placed into context.

"This is one paper that's got one story wrong, but it mustn't be used to suggest that the media is always getting it wrong or to batter the media or to threaten its freedom," he said.

"The British media has a justifiably proud track record of exposing things that people don't want to have revealed. There are so many questions that have been raised by this story and they need to be put to bed."

'Great damage'

Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence have not officially commented, but the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, the regiment at the centre of the storm, said the apology by the newspaper met its demands.

Roger Goodman, from the QLR, said the regiment now felt "vindicated", but added: "It is just a great pity it has taken so long... and that so much damage has been done in the meantime."

Government opposition parties welcomed the move.

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram said: "Looking at the facts objectively, this was the right thing for Piers Morgan to have done.

"The photos that were published in the Daily Mirror have done great damage to the reputation of our troops who are serving under some of the most difficult conditions in Iraq."

Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster said: "This was far more inevitable than the resignation of Greg Dyke from the BBC.

This was about the life of British soldiers, and you can't tough it out when you're wrong
Andrew Neil
"It is also a clear indication that the Mirror's procedures for verifying information provided to it are inadequate and must be overhauled."

Andrew Neil, former editor of the Sunday Times, paid tribute to Mr Morgan but said he should not have tried to "tough it out".

"I think it's very sad. Piers Morgan is a very talented editor, a very talented journalist, but he has brought this upon himself.

"Once it was clear they were fake, he should have made an apology both to the readers of the Mirror and to the British Army, but he decided to tough it out."

"This wasn't like the old Sunday Times and the Hitler diaries, which just made the paper look stupid," he added.

"This was about the life of British soldiers, and you can't tough it out when you're wrong."

Trevor Kavanagh, political editor of The Sun, said the Mirror's publication of the photographs had endangered British soldiers.

"What has happened by the use of these photographs is to put our troops' lives at risk out there in the Gulf and elsewhere in the world in a way which was really quite reprehensible," he said.

"Had they been genuine photographs that would have been different but they weren't and that is the essence of the matter."




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