Readers urged to drop Mail

By Katie Coyne

Infuriated by the Daily Mail’s campaign “Say No to 24-Hour Pubs” the
UK’s pub trade title has launched a national boycott of the paper among
its readers.

The Publican newspaper claims in its latest issue that the
Associated Newspapers-owned Daily Mail “paints pubs as one of the evils
of society”. In response it launched its own countercampaign on
Saturday, cheekily titled: “Say No to the Daily Mail”.

And as the
daily tabloid is the favourite read among licensees – three out of 10
buy it regularly according to Publican statistics – the trade weekly’s
boycott could potentially influence 20,000 Daily Mail readers.

Scope
for 24-hour opening is provided within the Government’s Licensing Act,
due to come into force in November. But The Publican,which was bought
by United Advertising Publications from Quantum Business Media in
February, argues that the Daily Mail’s reporting of the issue has been
“misleading”.

Its main gripe appears to be the failure of the
Daily Mail to report that the majority of pubs plan to extend their
opening times by just a few hours. It estimates that only around 20
pubs in the country plan to open 24 hours.

This week’s issue of
the trade weekly even suggests that recent renewed interest may have
been influenced by the onset of the silly season: “the time of year
when news stories become harder to find, and journalists become more
inventive”.

The Publican’s deputy editor, Daniel Pearce, who is
heading up the campaign, told Press Gazette: “The pub trade has really
had it in the neck from the Daily Mail from January, when the Licensing
Act became a hot potato, politically and in the media.

“Many
licensees are up in arms at the unfair way in which they have been
portrayed. It’s a bit of fun really, it’s a way for the pub industry to
stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.”

The Publican surveyed
numerous licensees about the Daily Mail’s coverage of the Licensing
Act, and quotes a spokesman for the London brewer and pub company
Fuller’s as saying: “I think The Daily Mail is a very good newspaper –
for wrapping chips in.”

A Daily Mail spokesman said: “We think
the suggestion that The Publican boycotts the Daily Mail misses the
whole point of the Mail’s concern.

The Daily Mail has nothing against pubs and has written frequently of theessential part they play in many communities.

“What
concerns the Mail, along with police, medical authorities, religious
and community leaders, many politicians and even quite a few publicans,
are the social consequences of roundthe- clock drinking.”

He added: “We believe this is one issue which should be freely debated in all the bars of the land. Boycotts get us nowhere.”

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