Sinn Fein 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
"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
Sinn Fein 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."