The i newspaper has launched its own 2017 election manifesto claiming it will refuse to endorse a political party, but won’t follow “bland BBC neutrality” in its reporting in the lead up to polling day on 8 June.
In an eight-point manifesto published today, editor Oliver Duff said the paper’s coverage would be boosted by its position “outside the London bubble” with 85 per cent of its readers not based in the capital.
Duff said this made the Johnston Press-owned title “unique among quality newspapers” and was “one reason why we steer clear of the London media bubble”.
The manifesto also included a commitment to fact-checking politicians’ claims, with Duff saying: “In the fog of post-truth politics, fake news and fear-mongering, facts matter. We will weight evidence, scrutinise bold claims, unravel spin.”
In leader columns yesterday, the majority of the UK’s national newspapers declared for or against Prime Minister Theresa May and her decision to call of a snap general election
According to Press Gazette analysis, only the Guardian and Mirror were against the election and the Tories. The FT and Times both voiced support for the government, alongside the Sun, Telegraph and Express.
Taking aim at his rival editors, Duff said: “Telling readers what to think is a media anachronism. We don’t have an axe to grind.
“i is unique among UK national newspaper in refusing to endorse a party. This does not mean bland BBC neutrality, or that every single page will be meticulously balanced to the point of tedium. It means we will approach news stories and people fairly…
“Britain’s future won’t be decided by editors, media owners or big political donors, but by you”.
Johnston Press took over the i newspaper in April last year after buying it for £24m from Independent and Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev.
Duff said an “increasing number” of the regional publishers’ 800 UK-based journalists on local newspaper titles now contribute to the i’s reporting.
According to ABC figures to February, the i has a daily UK print circulation of 265,815 copies.