Wildlife changes ad policy after calendar row

BBC Wildlife Magazine is revising its advertising guidelines after
it was forced to apologise to pro-hunt groups for featuring ads for the
League Against Cruel Sports in a free calendar.

Members of the
Countryside Alliance and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association accused
the BBC of antihunt bias because they were not approached to advertise
in the calendar, which was given out with last month’s issue.

Editor
Sophie Stafford insisted that the magazine had always intended to be
“open-minded, fair and accurate” on all wildlife-related issues, but
admitted that the calendar could have implied that the mag endorsed the
views of the groups advertising within it.

The League Against
Cruel Sports is running a paid-for ad in the magazine itself this
month, which the corporation insists does not breach any guidelines.

Stafford,
whose sacking was called for by hunt supporters over the calendar
affair, said: “The February issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine carries a
paid-for advertisement from the League Against Cruel Sports.

“As
editor of the title, I would like to clearly state that I would have no
hesitation in publishing a paid-for advertisement from any group with
different views on the subject of hunting and shooting. However, no
such group contacted BBC Wildlife with a view to advertising in this
particular issue.

“May I just take this opportunity to reiterate
that, editorially, it is always the intention of BBC Wildlife Magazine
to present a balanced account of arguments.”

Douglas Batchelor,
chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Since the
focus of BBC Wildlife is the preservation and admiration of our
valuable wildlife, it comes as no surprise that the calendar featured
organisations which protect it, rather than those who shoot and hunt
birds and animals.”

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