Guardian.co.uk's digital director Emily Bell has responded to the full frontal attack by The Independent's managing director Simon Kelner on MediaGuardian in the New Statesman.
Bell praises Kelner, who accused MediaGuardian of bias and deliberately trying to damage The Independent financially, for having "the balls" to go public unlike TV executives who gave off the record quotes.
"MediaGuardian has always upset a lot of people by trying to cover the industry fairly," Bell told Judith Townend of Journalism.co.uk.
In the NS feature (now online) 'Who Guards the Guardian?' , by the Evening Standard's Gideon Spanier, Bell was attacked by unnamed executives of ITV and Channel 4 for allegedly having a conflict of interest by being a commentator as well as a member of the Guardian News & Media board.
At least Kelner had "the balls to be very explicit", Bell told Journalism.co.uk. "Certainly, the execs at ITV and Channel 4 know exactly what I do: we don't make a secret of it," she said, adding that her role is detailed at the end of her MediaGuardian column and that she never writes 'uncommissioned'.
"I don't really know how to respond to it because I don't know what the allegation is. Is it because I'm writing from the Guardian, as a Guardian employee, but I've also got more say in the corporate strategy? It's not like any of that is unclear. And I'm fairly scrupulous about declaring interests where we are specifically interested.
"When you read the piece as a whole it seems to me that Gideon Spanier gives fair treatment to what seems to be quite a lot of complaining about nothing in particular," she said.
Simon Kelner has given MediaGuardian an interview for next's week section which will be appearing in print and online.
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