NUJ back after Blair attack

NUJ
general secretary Jeremy Dear has spoken out against Tony Blair’s
recent attack on the BBC, saying the Prime Minister has “exposed his
contempt for public service broadcasting and the BBC in particular”.

The
head of the journalists’ union responded angrily to the revelation by
media tycoon Rupert Murdoch that Blair had criticised the BBC’s
coverage of Hurricane Katrina, claiming that the corporation appeared
to be “gloating” over the United States’ misfortune and that its
coverage had been “full of hatred for America”.

Condemning what
he called the Prime Minister’s “craven devotion to President Bush”,
which was “only eclipsed by his craven devotion to Rupert Murdoch”, Mr
Dear said he was “sickened” by Mr Blair’s bid to curry favour with Mr
Murdoch.

Dear concluded: “Tony Blair’s criticism of the BBC for
exposing the divide between rich and poor in the US and the slowness of
the emergency services to provide relief to the poor of New Orleans is
beyond contempt.

“Tony Blair has deregulated broadcasting to
serve the interests of Rupert Murdoch. His latest attack on the BBC
shows he is still doing Murdoch’s bidding.”

News of the
conversation between Mr Blair and Mr Murdoch – which apparently took
place when the Prime Minister was in New York for the UN summit –
emerged at a seminar hosted by former US President Bill Clinton.

The
BBC said it would not comment on Blair’s private conversation and that
it had not received a formal complaint from Downing Street. The
corporation added: “It would appear opportune to underline the fact
that the BBC’s coverage of the Katrina devastation was committed solely
to relaying the events fully, accurately and impartially. An approach
we will continue to take with this and other stories.”

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