Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for August 5th, 2008

Daily Mail Pole-axed

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 5th August, 2008

The Daily Mail has agreed to remove some articles critical of Poles in Britain from its website and to alter others, in a settlement with the Federation of Poles in Great Britain (FPGB), which had protested to the Press Complaints Commission over 50 pieces and related headlines that they said gave rise to negative emotions and tensions between new EU immigrants and local communities. Among the gems of objective reporting highlighted were ‘Polish Borat claims groping women is normal in Eastern Europe’ and ‘Britain is country of choice for many “feckless” Poles.’ As the FPGB complained, ‘this kind of shock reporting, week in week out, serves only to exacerabte the tension. They are slingshots aimed at Europe and the Government, which rebound against Poles and other central Europeans in street abuse, fire-bombed homes and mob attacks, while the Daily Mail washes its hands of all responsibility.’

As a mass-circulation daily newspaper, the Daily Mail has a duty to provide accurate journalism, not to pander to xenophobic prejudice, let alone stimulate it. While it is legitimate for a newspaper to take a Euro-sceptic editorial line, the execessive Euro-bashing this newspaper indulges in, sometimes giving the impression that it will not let the truth stand in the way of a good story, is harmful not only to community relations betweeen EU migrants and indigenous Britons but also to political debate in this country. Too often, people just shrug their shoulders about Press bias, so well done the Polish Federation for standing up against it. As part of the deal thrashed out following the Press Complaints Commission case, a letter from the FPGB is due to appear in tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper.


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