Editor is charged for 'racist' editorial comments

By Hamish Mackay

A Scottish weekly newspaper editor is facing prosecution under
Britain’s anti-racism laws after publishing an editorial opposing what
he claims is a proposed major refugee centre in the north-east of
Scotland.

Alan Buchan, 45, is owner and editor of North East Weekly, a free
paper distributed to homes and businesses in an area extending from
Peterhead to Aberdeen, with a circulation of about 10,000. He was
arrested and charged after a two-hour interview by police this week.

Buchan, who launched the paper eight years ago, has been cited to appear at Peterhead Sheriff Court on 1 September.

He said he had been charged under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986.

The
charges arise out of an editorial published on 16 June about alleged
proposals to turn the former RAF Buchan site into an immigrant centre
and to create a new prison at Peterhead.

Under the headline
“Perverts & Refugees”, Buchan claimed the people of rural England
were rebelling against the establishment of large refugee centres
holding up to 5,000 immigrants “because they were fully aware that
their communities would be swamped and turned into cesspools and
ghettos where murder, rape, robbery, assault, break-ins and numerous
other crimes became prevalent”.

He said: “The police phoned me up
on Saturday and asked me to come to the police station for a chat and
that is when they arrested me.

“But if you read the article,
there is absolutely nothing there that says black refugees or Asian
refugees. I can say absolutely categorically that I am not a racist. I
don’t think the police would have taken action against a bigger
newspaper.”

Buchan said he would fight the charges.

A
Grampian Police spokesman said: “Grampian Police can confirm that,
following a complaint, they are making inquiries regarding the content
of an article published and distributed recently in the North East
Weekly.

“A male has been charged in connection with the inquiry and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”


Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986 gives the police powers to
arrest any person whom they suspect of publishing or distributing
written material that is threatening, abusive or insulting and intended
to stir up racial hatred.

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