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Sinn Féin take Legal Advice on BBC Censorship

4 November, 2003

South Belfast Sinn Féin representative Alex Maskey has accused the BBC of political discrimination and censorship. Mr. Maskey's remarks came after the BBC excluded Sinn Féin from election coverage offering the excuse that Martin McGuinness was appearing at the Saville Tribunal.

Mr. Maskey said:

"The decision of the BBC to exclude Sinn Féin from its election coverage is nothing short of political discrimination and censorship. The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was interviewed at the close of nominations today. All of the other main parties received their allocation of time yet no contribution from Sinn Féin was screened. The BBC 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?

"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." ENDS

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