Irish Republican News · November 5, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Sinn Féin anger at BBC censorship

South Belfast Sinn Féin representative Alex Maskey has accused the BBC of ``political discrimination and censorship''.

Mr Maskey's remarks came after the British state telveision network excluded Sinn Féin from election coverage on the basis that the party's Mid-Ulster MP, Martin McGuinness, had received the party's quota of election coverage from his apperance at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was interviewed by the BBC at the close of nominations yesterday, but a decision was apparently taken to spike the material.

All of the other main parties received their legal allocation of time yet no contribution from Sinn Féin was screened.

The BBC later claimed that Martin McGuinness appearing at the Saville Tribunal was election coverage.

``Are the BBC seriously trying to claim that if a candidate from any other party witnessed a news event that this would exclude his or her party from election coverage?'' Maskey asked.

``Sinn Féin will not accept this situation. We suffered years of state enforced censorship and since then years of informal bias by the BBC. We have placed this matter in the hands of our solicitors and if it is not satisfactorily resolved immediately we will not hesitate to pursue court action.''

The Sinn Féin legal challenge, which was heard in the High Court today, was adjourned until tomorrow morning with the judge directing comments to the BBC to consider their position.

Sinn Féin said it was reeady to continue the action.

``Sinn Féin will not stand by and watch the rights and entitlements of the republican electorate being abused by the BBC or anyone else, Mr Maskey said today.

``We are happy at the manner in which this case has proceeded and we believe that the BBC should listen to the judge's remarks this evening when he told them to go home and give their position some `mature reflection' overnight.

``We will be back here in the morning when it would be our hope that this matter will be satisfactorily resolved.''

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© 2003 Irish Republican News