Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hackney Gazette To Run BNP Advert?

It seems that the owners of the Hackney Gazette are forcing the paper to publish an election advert from the BNP in the forthcoming edition.

As we discovered a wee while back, many readers of this blog live in Hackney, particularly the more salubrious part, N16. So please, everyone, click here for more information and contact e-mail addresses of the people who need to receive your protest. Please send it today.

Below is the email I sent to the paper's owners about 20 minutes ago. I'll let you know if I get a reply. Maybe a barrage of emails will persuade them. Better still, maybe the workers on the paper - or its typesetters, printers or distributors - could refuse to handle the filth.

Dear Mr Jewson and Mr Fry

I have heard that Archant intends to force the Hackney Gazette to publish an advert from the loathsome British National Party in the run-up to the forthcoming Greater London Assembly. I hope that this is not true - if it is, I strongly urge you to reconsider.

Perhaps you feel that the BNP has a right to free speech and that therefore you must publish its advert. I, too, believe very strongly in free speech. However, the BNP is well able to produce its own propaganda: its right to free speech does not oblige your company to publish its material. I would also ask you to consider what respect for free speech the BNP extends to its political opponents and those (many) groups of people that it despises. How much editorial freedom do you think your newspapers would enjoy in a society governed by the BNP?

The BNP's election advert may or may not be explicitly racist. If it is, I would like to think it would be obvious to you that you should not publish it. If it is not, though, I still believe that you should not, because doing so would assist the BNP in its manipulative, deceitful project of presenting itself as 'reasonable'. Behind that 'reasonable' facade is a fascist organisation determined to achieve its aims through scapegoating, violence and repression of democracy, a party that poses a direct physcial threat to many people, and to a big majority of Hackney residents.

The BNP has built support over recent years by presenting itself as the champion of white working-class people. Sadly, the fact that government policy has cut and privatised many NHS services, and has neglected housing estates, has given the BNP the political space to do this, lying to people that it is ethnic minorities, rather than government policy, that have caused the inadequacies in our public services. Do not assist the BNP in perpetrating these racist, anti-working-class lies. Where the BNP succeeds in doing so, communities become divided and physical attacks increase.

The purpose of the BNP's advert is not harmless electioneering, but as a platform to organise a physcial threat to our communities. We have a right to defend ourselves against this threat, including to demand that our local newspaper does not assist those who threaten us.


Janine Booth
President, Hackney Trades Union Council

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