BNP in media law wars

The BNP is in the wars over media law. It may sue the Northern Echo for apparently refusing to run an advert during the recent by election campaign in Sedgefield, Tony Blair’s old seat.

The BNP “will probably take an action” under breach of copyright and the Equality Act, says the BNP legal adviser.

The Echo took exception to an advert the BNP drafted which included a string of statements which the Echo said was factually inaccurate. The BNP then redrafted its advert, taking out the material to Echo objected to. It then printed the new anodyne advert with a disclaimer over it.

Two BNP members were in another brush with media law this week, this time libel. Two members had taken a libel action against the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight for an article published in 2003. The article claimed that two brothers, members of the BNP, had threatened “to kneecap, totture and kill” some other BNP members after an internal bustup.

Searchlight ran a Reynolds qualified defence. It won its defence in the High Court, but the Roberts brothers took it to appeal. Now the Court of Appeal has upheld the decision.

The court of appeal said about the article: “Apart from a note of sarcasm, and, as all readers would suspect, some unfeigned glee at having this embarrassment to their political opponents presented ‘on a plate’, the tone was as neutral and as disinterested as any article in Searchlight on the BNP could be.”

The brothers had taken their action on their own and now face the hefty legal bills of failure. The BNP’s legal adviser said they should not have taken the action. “It’s all part of the rough and tumble of politics,” he said today.

You can’t see the Searchlight article because it is not on the publication’s online archive. Perhaps it was taken down just in case they lost. But you can see the BNP’s advert on their site, if you want to.

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