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SmashEDO:A few words on sensationalist journalism,protest bans and the local rag

Smashy | 30.04.2012 09:21 | Smash EDO | Afghanistan | Anti-militarism | Palestine | South Coast

Those who regularly follow the news in Brighton inevitably come across the inane ramblings of Brighton’s very own tabloid rag The Argus.

Last week ‘crime reporter’ Ben Parsons saw fit to muse in The Argus on whether protest should be banned in Brighton, prompting the often less than liberal local constabulary to confirm that even they thought a ban might be a touch draconian.

Hardly renowned for its integrity in reporting, The Argus has increasingly resorted to overly sensationalist journalism in a cynical attempt to boost its ratings.

On 1st March 2012 The Argus ran billboards and headlines claiming a “Smash EDO threat to Queens Jubilee” that sought to portray a planned anti-arms trade demonstration as an anarchist conspiracy to disrupt Queens Jubilee street parties and generally ruin everybody’s day off work. Considering that the demonstration does not even fall on the same date as the jubilee, this beggars the question; is this just lazy journalism or a moralistic crusade against an anti-war protest group?’

This was followed on April 13th by a spurious claim in the headlines of Brighton’s favourites that “Rival groups are set to bring city to standstill during protests” (sic) in reference to an alleged threat by the EDL to come to Brighton to counter the previously mentioned Smash EDO protest.

Whilst initially this article seemed alarming and relevant, a little digging beneath the surface to reveal the source of the threat revealed an amusing truth. Rather than a genuine threat from the fascists, the source of the article was an anonymous posting by somebody called ‘EDL supporter’ on a comment thread on a previous Argus article, hardly a trusty and transparent source. Does The Argus really consider this worthy journalism or has it merely sunk to such depths that it is drawn to dragging front page news items from the comment threads on its own website?

It is our opinion that the role of journalism is to examine, investigate and report events or information in an accurate and impartial manner. We think that responsible journalism should also speak truth to power and expose wrongs in the world that are relevant to the general public.

Considering the examples highlighted, The Argus (and many other newspapers with it) can hardly claim to be painting an impartial and accurate picture of the Smash EDO campaign. If anything it would seem that the paper is using a series of mistruths to either promote a hidden agenda against the campaign or to shock an increasingly disinterested public into buying their newspaper. Somehow, we suspect it is the latter.

Whilst the Argus may think it is simply offering the public what they want and trying to make an honest living, the damage to public awareness is uncountable. Having seemingly abandoned its responsibility to accurate reporting, the paper is using its position in the community to spread lies and rumours.

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Display the following 2 comments

  1. responsible journalism....... — geo
  2. comment — Reginald Henry Twigger