The NUJ said today that Newsquest management should be "ashamed" for accepting advertising from the BNP.
A number of Newsquest websites have carried adverts for the BNP, although banner online ads from the party proclaiming "British jobs for British workers" appear to have been withdrawn from three of the company's weekly newspapers in the Midlands.
The NUJ said it is deeply concerned that the decision to accept money from the BNP would seriously damage the reputation of the company’s titles and its journalists.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Newsquest should be ashamed of itself for taking money from an organisation that advocates racist policies that would directly discriminate against the communities these websites serve.
“This disgraceful decision not only damages the reputation of the company’s online and print titles. Journalists will also find their ability to win the trust and confidence of their communities undermined by this decision.
“It seems incredible that managers would even consider taking advertising from the BNP. Many journalists who have investigated the party in the past have since found themselves on far-right hate websites that try to intimidate journalists to stop them from taking up investigations.
“NUJ chapels should raise objections with management if BNP adverts appear in the papers, or on their websites."
“Journalists covering the elections should also remind themselves of the NUJ’s guidelines on reporting racist organisations which are available on the union’s website.”
Bob Smith, who is chair of the NUJ’s Newsquest group chapel, added: “Accepting the tainted cash of the British National Party shows unbelievably bad judgement on the part of Newsquest’s management."
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