Since Theresa May called a snap election, many organisations (both governmental and NGO) are under pressure to ensure the high standards of democracy we expect by our nation are delivered. Even commercial companies are under pressure. On May 16th the BBC reported on a Lancashire-based manufacturer Rosettes Direct. Under the heading “Will the election rosettes be ready in time?” The manufacturer said “we would appreciate a little more warning next time”.
Not so The Harrogate Advertiser which takes a more leisurely approach to reporting. I was asked for 200 words as The Independent Candidate on the day which my candidacy was formally announced. So I was slightly surprised 7 days letter to see nothing published in the newspaper but a photograph. What about giving more than just our names to your readers? You promise to give more in following issues, but with only May 25th and June 1st left to run, it seems a little coy when supplied with words to report.
The IPSO Editors’ Code says “the cornerstone of the system of voluntary self-regulation…balances both the rights of the individual and the public’s right to know”. In a one-newspaper town it contradicts the spirit of democracy, but not the code, to delay publishing what you know about candidates that your readers must shortly vote on. Is not “our freedom of expression” lost in a snap election if local newspapers simply drag their feet to report on parliamentary candidates? Healthy democracy depends on reporting, something you give voice to but act in defiance of.
This “Letter to The Editor” was sent today, Thursday 18th, to The Harrogate Advertiser.