Pa­pers faces back­lash over BNP elec­tion ads

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANA GLOGER

ONE OF the coun­try’s big­gest me­dia groups has caused out­rage by print­ing Bri­tish Na­tional Party ad­ver­tise­ments in its Lon­don news­pa­pers.

Ar­chant Lon­don pub­lished the ad­verts, which urge peo­ple to vote for the BNP in the May 1 elec­tions, in all its news­pa­pers in the cap­i­tal.

One of th­ese is the Ham & High, which cov­ers sev­eral North Lon­don ar­eas with large Jewish pop­u­la­tions, in­clud­ing Hamp­stead and Gold­ers Green.

Ed­i­tor Ge­off Martin de­fended the move on the grounds of “free­dom of speech and ex­pres­sion”, but it caused an out­cry from Cam­den coun­cil­lors. Keith Mof­fitt, the LibDem leader, said: “It came as a shock that lo­cal news­pa­pers which I thought I knew well, and cer­tainly the Ham & High, which has a lib­eral tra­di­tion, have done this.

“The pa­per has a mas­sive Jewish read­er­ship. I think it’s so in­sen­si­tive.”

Tory mem­ber Andrew Mar­shall said: “The Ham & High has a large Jewish and Mus­lim read­er­ship and is sup­posed to be a bea­con for lib­eral Lon­don. Even if you’re a com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tion, you surely must have some stan­dards.”

Labour’s Theo Black­well said: “This shame­less pur­suit of profit over prin­ci­ple is dis­grace­ful.”

Mr Martin said that he had re­ceived around 12 read­ers’ let­ters about the ad­vert, around half of which had been in favour of it be­ing printed. He added: “If this had been at any other time, we might have taken a dif­fer­ent view. But we agreed to take po­lit­i­cal ad­verts from all par­ties in the run- up to the elec­tions, and had al­ready pub­lished some from other par­ties, so we couldn’t sin­gle out one party in an act of cen­sor­ship. Some­times there’s a price to pay for a free and in­clu­sive democ­racy.” This week Ar­chant said all rev­enues from the BNP ad­verts would go to char­ity.

Jews­forJus­tice­forPales­tini­an­shas­tak­e­na­full-pagead­vert,with­manycelebrity en­dorse­ments, in this week’s JC to ask whetherJews­ca­nen­joytheirSed­er­while Pales­tini­ans are suf­fer­ing “slav­ery”.

JC ed­i­torDavidRowan­said:“Al­though I un­der­stand that many read­ers will ob­ject to the sen­ti­ments in this ad­vert, it has not been this news­pa­per’s pol­icy to cen­sor law­ful ad­ver­tise­ments from Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions — even where they con­flict with the news­pa­per’s edi­to­rial po­si­tion.”

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