May 03, 2007

Journalists' fury over BNP ad in South Wales Evening Post

Journalists at the South Wales Evening Post have reacted with anger after discovering an advert for the BNP was to be published in the paper.

One insider told Press Gazette: "As journalists we find it abhorrent that the paper can carry an advert from the BNP and take their money, especially when we have put out editorial opposing this. We want to disassociate ourselves from this advert and from the views being put across by the BNP."

The advert shows a picture of a family next to the BNP's logo, encouraging voters to choose the BNP in this week's Welsh election with quotes including: "... because the politicians are wrong turning Wales into a foreign country without ever asking us."

The advert concludes: "That's why you know there will be so many people like you voting BNP on 3 May."

A sub-editor found out about the advert on Monday and it was published on Tuesday. Journalists have sent emails to South West Wales Media managing director Chris Rees and editor Spencer Feeney expressing their opposition.

The National Union of Journalists looked into taking out a similar-sized advert in the paper opposing the views put forward by the BNP and was told it would cost £1,000. The plan was scrapped on cost grounds and because the ad would not have appeared until after the election.

An NUJ member on the paper said the union enquired about writing a letter for publication instead, but they were told the paper had a policy of not publishing such letters during elections.

NUJ assistant organiser for the North and Midlands, and former organiser for Wales, Jenny Lennox said: "As far as the NUJ is concerned we don't think anyone should be putting out that kind of advert in the press. In Swansea, race relations have been quite tense and it is likely to make things worse. Journalists were so angry they wanted to walk out of the building yesterday, but the Post is a Northcliffe paper which is very anti-union and it is difficult for them to do that.

"We argue that when we have elections we should have balanced and fair reporting, but letting them take out an advert is effectively not letting any other side be seen. It's not putting a balanced argument forward at all."

The company declined to comment.

online press gazette

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A newspaper can be made or broken by the newsagents that sell it, these will be interesting days for the SWEP