The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has launched a new website, http://www.reportingthebnp.org/, in a bid to inform reporters about the political tactics of the British National Party (BNP) in the run-up to the general election.
The NUJ said:
Reporting the BNP gives information on what the BNP actually stands for, with detailed facts and arguments to counter the far-right organisations’ unfounded claims.
“Challenging the fascist politics of hate is a job for every fair-minded person in our society, not just a task for committed activists. NUJ members are proud to play our part in exposing the myths on which modern Nazis seek to gain power,” said NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear.
The launch of the site comes just ahead of the protest scheduled for Tuesday, in which journalists will come together for the EXPOSE campaign: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, columnist and broadcaster; Mehdi Hasan, political senior editor for the New Statesman; Sunny Hundal, editor of the Liberal Conspiracy blog; and Peter Hain, secretary of state for Wales are among the figures speaking.
Supporters of of EXPOSE also wrote a letter to the Guardian this week outlining some of the reasons for the campaign:
The assault on the Times’s investigations editor Dominic Kennedy on Sunday (Report, 16 February) reveals the methods the BNP will employ to prevent the party’s activities being reported. Intimidation and violence are part of the BNP leadership’s stock in trade. The BNP cites “free speech” to demand access to the mainstream media – yet the party is an enemy of free speech. The BNP’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigration cannot be taken at face value. It abuses free speech to incite racial and religious hatred. A robust approach to covering the BNP is therefore essential.
Roy Greenslade first picked up on this one at the beginning of the month when he commented on how the BBC had used BNP comments in its Radio 1 Newsbeat programme, and on its site.
Now Peter Hain, the Welsh secretary, has condemned the BBC’s handling of the interview and the BBC faces calls for an internal investigation after it received more than 100 complaints, MediaGuardian reports.
Full story at this link…
Meanwhile, FleetStreetBlues has some sympathy for the BBC reporter:
“The report has been criticised widely for introducing two interviewees as ‘two young guys who are members of the BNP’ without stating that they were prominent party members and one was the BNP’s publicity director.
“No, it’s not great journalism, but we’ve all done it. Interviewed a ‘Man Utd fan’ who turns out to editor the Man Utd fanzine. Quizzed a donkey-loving member of the public who turns out to run a donkey sanctuary. Sought grassroots student comment from the local student union.
“The news editor wants authentic BNP comment and he needs it by 10am? Sorry, going for comment via organisations and then dressing it up as someone we just happened to meet on the street is what reporters do. You don’t give us time for anything else.”
Matthew Single, a former British National Party (BNP member, has been fined £200 for breaking data privacy laws after leaking details of the group’s membership online.
Single, who was previously the party’s deputy secuirty head, leaked the information about more than 10,000 BNP members last November, creating a media frenzy – and raising issues about privacy and data protection.
Full story at this link…
Journalism.co.uk’s reports on the leaked BNP list last November:
BNP members list leak gathers pace online – to link or not to link?
Members list still available but journalists and bloggers fear breaking BNP injunction