Regional press reporters were barred from covering a high-profile political festival despite being initially invited to attend.
The Derby Evening Telegraph was all set to cover the British National Party’s Red, White and Blue event over the weekend but received an 11th hour entry refusal.
The festival, held on land owned by a former BNP councillor in the rural village of Denby north of Derby, caused a wave of protests.
There were more than 30 arrests of demonstrators, thought to have come from outside the area, while local residents were dismayed at having large-scale protests and riot police on their doorsteps.
“But then it was indicated to us by the BNP’s press office that would not be the case because we hadn’t put enough comment for the BNP in our coverage.
“I refute that – we tried to cover this event, from a political standpoint, straight down the middle.
“We came from the perspective of residents of the local area who have faced the disruption of this event.
“They are our readers and it’s they who most of our stories have concentrated around.
“I would much rather have the views of our readers than concern ourselves with a lot of outsiders.”
The Red, White and Blue festival was held in the same place last year and the Evening Telegraph was granted full access, although Neil believes this may have been connected to the fact there was only one demonstrator.
The festival attracted around 3,000 BNP supporters from across the UK along with 400 mainly peaceful demonstrators.
Riot police clashed with a portion of the crowd and made 33 arrests while Denby residents were quoted as pleading with organisers not to hold the event there next year.
The Evening Telegraph covered the protests in full with the first three pages of Monday’s edition dedicated to the event under the lead headline “Never Again!”
Neil added: “The residents were effectively prisoners in their own homes.
“We had a chap who regularly walks his dog who said all the footpaths were blocked off and another family saying they couldn’t get out of their front gate.”
In his blog, BNP deputy leader Simon Darby said: “The Derby Evening Telegraph were banned from the site owing to their inability to report accurately…..as I explained during my address in the political tent, I’ll not allow our members to be abused by the press.”
Helen (21/08/2008 09:20:45)
You forgot to mention the BNP were peaceable and that the vicious anti-facist caused all of the trouble and were a utter disgrace.
This article is awful and you have just lost another reader namely mois….
cf (21/08/2008 09:31:25)
The paper should not report this “down the line”. the paper should be making a stand against this scum, I’m sure the non-white or immigrant population who read the paper would hope so.
tom (21/08/2008 10:36:59)
I think that if the National union of Journalists and most newspaper editors were not so biased and bigoted against the B.N.P they would have been made more than welcome.
There was disgusting scenes of violence from the ‘mummy boys’ rent a mob-why wasn’t Bob Crow (right name) of the R.M.T and the M.P Judy Mallaber asked for their reactions to this.
I will repeat myself, let’s have fair and objective reporting.
ian (21/08/2008 13:29:03)
The BNP share similar beliefs and policy objectives as the Nazi’s of pre war Germany. Millons were put to death as a result of those beliefs. Telegraph reporters however want to cover the story “…straight down the middle”. Its difficult to tell whether that is naivety, stupidity or both. Either way its inexcusable.
John (21/08/2008 14:02:08)
Dosen’t the headline on the front page of the Evening Telegraph show exactly why they were barred from the BNP family festival?
Instead of condeming the far left thugs who turned up to protest against the Red, White and Blue family festival, the ET wants a peaceful gathering banned because of the action of the thugs.
Its a bit like saying that women are to blame for rapists and homeowners are responsible for burglars.
Jon (21/08/2008 14:18:42)
“The BNP share similar beliefs and policy objectives as the Nazi’s of pre war Germany. ” Oh really, perhaps you’ve forgot that Britain in 1940 was a place were homosexuality was a crime, capital and corporal punishment was the norm, the population was 99.9999% white and in 1950’s Winston Churchill objected to the planned ‘magpie society’. Before the war his views on ‘Mohemmadans’ wasn’t exactly PC. And lets not even go into what war hero Viscount Montgomery had to say about Africa. You lefties really are in cloud cuckoo land. Good they banned the paper, its about time people stood up to these media bullies who twist the truth at every turn.
mr brown (21/08/2008 14:41:03)
remember last year?
no protesters,no arests,no trouble,no vandalism,no litter?
i think that says all you need to know.
look at the names of the protest leades then look at their track record in polotics,
Bob (21/08/2008 15:35:12)
Do you blame them! Just look at that twisted front page. Straight from the Orwell School of Journalism. A person in the newsagent glances at the pile of local papers. NEVER AGAIN it screams, then a picture of people getting arrested. Oo whats all that about, they think and check the sub headline. PLEA FOR BNP FESTIVAL TO STAY AWAY AFTER PROTEST TURNS VIOLENT. Oh its those troublesome far right thugs making trouble again they think then go and buys a mars bar. A fair headline would actually say WHO was causing the trouble. Sky News Website were the only ones who seemed fair FAR LEFT PROTESTERS ARRESTED. The BBC just like this front page tried to make it unclear and vague who were the troublemakers, hoping the BNP would be tarnished. Their headline was BNP PROTESTS LEAD TO 33 ARRESTS. Which of course could mean the 33 arrested were BNP members at a protest. They think all the readers are THICK!!
Simon Darby (21/08/2008 17:38:14)
If you want the truth of the matter, the Derby Evening Telegraph didn’t give the BNP a single word in a number of stories leading up to the festival. When they rang begging to be allowed on to the site, the fact that I had spent cumulatively the best part of an hour talking to their journalists without so much as one word being printed was pointed out to them.
As a peace offering, they gave me the chance to have two sentences printed in their “City” edition. Even then they couldn’t resist distorting and emasculating my short statement to suit their own ends, taking out any criticism of the Labour Party. After this they were told that if they could not report accurately and impartially they would not be welcome.
Other local journalists were allowed access with no problems at all whilst the Telegraph decided to announce that it had been forbidden access to the RWB without even having the integrity to explain to its readership the reason for this.
JJ (21/08/2008 17:48:07)
Simon Darby, re, “if they could not report accurately and impartially they would not be welcome”.
By “accurately” I presume you mean a report which didn’t criticise the party.
What may surprise you is that newspapers are not a glorified scrapbook of comments for any party.
All parties are featured in stories which can draw criticism or praise. It’s called impartial journalism.
For the BNP impartial reporting over the years always throws up negative stories of people inciting hate, violence and racism.
I think that tells you all you need to know. Do something positive and a positive story may evolve. Here’s an idea – ditch the party.
Jon, you refer to “media bullies”. Care to explain why a number of journalists I know – and dozens more we here of – have received violent threats from people claiming to be from the BNP. Fabrication? Misunderstood? Not much charm is there in that now, eh.
jon (21/08/2008 19:02:39)
These left wing thugs are the same ones who smash up Mc Donald’s every may day,but we do not hear newspapers calling for the shut down of Mc Donald’s now do we ?
John (21/08/2008 19:34:18)
JJ talks of journalists receiving dozens of violent threats coming from people “claiming to be from the BNP.” Isn’t that the point, anonymous threats coming from people claiming to be from the BNP? You saw the actions of the extreme left on Saturday with your own eyes. If they act like that in public what do they get up to under the cloak of anonymity?
John Ryde (21/08/2008 19:40:23)
It is obvious that many people writing to criticise the BNP know nothing about it, or they are lying.
Their hateful comments about the membership and the policies bear little resemblance to reality.
I am basing this on what I have seen at all levels in the BNP during my 10 years membership.If what they say were true, I would not remain within the party.
Local residents have now seen the reality of Labour thugs trying to enforce (and failing) politics Zimbabwean style, and it is not a pretty picture.
Don’t step out of line… Big Brother Brown is watching you.
Kevin (21/08/2008 21:53:38)
The BNP are a legitimate, democratic political party whose time has come. Ordinary decent, respectable people, the pillars of their communities who once voted Labour and Conservative are now flocking to the BNP in their droves. The Labour supporting rabble (a union leader and a Labour MP were among the protestors at the BNP festival) have begun to realise that actually the BNP is probably the fourth, and may sometime soon be the third party in British politics and they are frightened witless. The quite revolution is growing louder!
bertiebert (21/08/2008 23:36:55)
the red white and blue festival is nothing more than a great family day out with loads of traditional british entertainment. its about time the people of this country wake up and see through the lies that labour and the media spread about the BNP. im a member and im neither a racist or a nazi. im simply a nationalist that has genuine concerns about the mess our country is now in. i have children and im worried about their future. we have hundreds of groups for foreign nationals. black police society and muslim societies etc etc. whats so wrong about having one group for the true british people? when I voted for labour 10yrs ago I most certainly didnt agree to open borders and millions of immigrants entering the uk and putting huge strain on resources such as the NHS when they haven’t contributed through taxes. why should our pensioners live in near poverty after working hard all their lives? whats going to happen this winter if we have a real cold snap and thousands will die because we are now at the mercy of foreign companies for essential services like gas and electricity? we have members that fought in WW2 for our country and labour now brand them nazis for supporting the BNP. is that right? people should use their adult commonsense and check out the facts and truth before passing judgement on our members. visit our website www.bnp.org.uk and compare this to antifa.org.uk you will then see the real truth. you should also check out searchlight.co.uk and notice direct link to antifa website, these state sponsered sites are threatening violence against BNP at red white and blue festival. its not the BNP or our members that are looking for trouble. im from a mining family and traditional labour area and have now turned my back on both labour and the unions in the uk for the acts of treason they have commited on our working class. how can gordon brown say british jobs for british workers then flood our country with cheap labour and let our industries move to countries
Richard Clark (21/08/2008 23:50:56)
As a journo of nearly fifty years standing, little moves me when it comes to right wing V left wing views.
But any honest journalist must have seen the nation-wide frustration of the ordinary person, reader, man on the Clapham Omnibus, with what is going on in their everyday life.
So the BNP has recruited many ordinary, decent, you might think misled people with some pretty hard-faced ideas of how to jolt Britain back to their ideas of sanity.
It is free country and they are entitled to their ideas, just as Scientologists are.
The left may disagree with their ideas, that is their right too, but when it comes to being bully boys the lefties can often teach the righties a thing or two.So if disruption causes cancellation of an event, they will disrupt.
And it sometimes calls for severe doses of observational honesty for journalists not to take sides, which is also their right if their newspaper allows it.
The very sadness of the whole affair is that a function that was worth a par at best in most newspapers ended up getting huge coverage in the silly season.
In politics, all coverage is good coverage, so who was the winner here ?
Chris Barnett (21/08/2008 23:55:44)
“Jon, you refer to “media bullies”. Care to explain why a number of journalists I know – and dozens more we here of – have received violent threats from people claiming to be from the BNP. Fabrication? Misunderstood? Not much charm is there in that now, eh.”
So let me get this right. All I have to do, is phone up my local journalist and claim to be from New Labour, making loads of threats and he/she will run negative stories about New Labour? Wow.
terencer (21/08/2008 23:59:59)
My Wife and i were traveling through this village when we were halted in a traffic jam caused through a crowd of what appeared to be communist!they were attacking the police! my two grandchildren 4. and 8. were left traumatized by this horrid display of hatred to the police.The little girl of 4,is bed wetting now. She was greatly effected. i believe some one called Judy Millibar was responsible for this disgraceful affair!I am a ,ember of the Labour party I am deeply ashamed with this episode!I hope the BNP do not get intimidated by these hooligans.They wore similar masks to GARY GLITTER!
Chris Barnett (22/08/2008 00:05:11)
“By “accurately” I presume you mean a report which didn’t criticise the party.”
No, we’re not talking about Mugabe style accuracy.
There was a gentlemens agreement that the newspaper would simply print 2 sentences from Simon, in light of NO positive press about the BNP. They couldn’t even do that, they even distorted just the only 2 sentences they agreed to print.
If a newspaper flat out refuses to print ANYTHING remotely positive or accurate, then why should the BNP do business with them?
Sky News & The Daily Star both can have off days with the BNP, depending on the journalist we get or even a mistake that a photographer can make, we forgive them. But that local Telegraph Newspaper went out of their way to be unfair.
L Greene (22/08/2008 00:06:02)
“Straight down the middle”? Don’t you mean “Hard left”?
Never Again, says your headline, followed by ‘Plea for BNP festival to stay away after protest turns violent.”
If the BNP used violence like the Left does, would you call for Left-wing marches and demonstrations to ‘go away’ ?
Shouldn’t it be the violent protestors who should stay away, rather than the respectable people who took their families to a festival ?
And why do you always talk about ‘anti-fascists’, rather than revealing that they are mostly communists and anarchists ? Why no pictures of the march, with its Communist Party banners and a huge hammer & sickle ?
Marc (22/08/2008 00:09:44)
“the paper should be making a stand against this scum, I’m sure the non-white or immigrant population who read the paper would hope so.”
I’m non-white, and an immigrant, and I certainly don’t agree. T
rying to suppress legitimate political debate leads to very dangerous times.
The BNP have every right to exist, state their opinions, and hold festivals. It’s one thing to scrutinize them for violence, incitement and so on. Another to attack/denounce them in the disgraceful manner which most institutions do.
As an immigrant, it always amazes me how the BNP are treated by the press here, considering that their views are the same as many ethno-nationalist nations around the globe.
I may disagree with some of their views, and they might even prefer if I wasn’t residing in this country, but I believe that stifling the outlet for this natural ethno-nationalist sentiment is far worse than allowing them the freedom to express their arguments like everybody else.
In any case, the BNP are making the most sense on a lot of other issues apart from the race and immigration issues…
tom (22/08/2008 11:10:10)
Marc, immigration is connected to all (or nearly all) the the problems we have whether it be jobs,overcrowding collapsing health service (not the ethnic nurses but the amount of immigrants using it for children,exotic diseases and health tourism).
Pensions crisis (of course you are going to have a problem if Millions enter the country and claim a pension when they have put nothing in the pot).
Crime, read the papers (it doesn’t matter which one) it is full of them whether they are shooting or stabbing each other in London, and especially the crimes against women.
Can’t your kids get a council house or flat anymore? No and they nether will while the massive families of these people take precedence.
Marc the problem is Immigration.
Johnny (22/08/2008 12:53:52)
Wake up & Get a life nazis, stop holding everyone else back & allow the rest of the planet to ccoperate to sort out climate change & poverty.
Stop trying to hide behind the flag,democracy & freedom,