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Channel 4 News blocked from Brexit Party events in wake of Nigel Farage investigation

Channel 4 News is understood to be in talks with the Brexit Party after it was blacklisted from party events following an investigation into the funding of leader Nigel Farage.

Editor Ben De Pear said his team had been “unaware of the six-week ban” until last Thursday – the day its investigation was published.

It revealed that former UKIP leader Farage had received almost half a million pounds in funding from businessman Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU pro-Brexit campaign group.

Channel 4 News reported that the cash was used to fund Farage’s “lavish lifestyle” in the wake of the 2016 EU Referendum.

The European Parliament today announced it would launch an investigation into the Brexit Party leader over the £450,000 of undeclared funding.

Prior to the Channel 4 News investigation, the broadcaster had “full access” to events and Farage himself, it said.

Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear tweeted: “We hope to resolve our access ban from Brexit Party events ASAP.

“We were unaware of the six-week ban until last Thursday when we broadcast this Nigel Farage investigation, revealing he had been bankrolled by £450k from Arron Banks.

“Until then we had full access, including to Farage.”

Leave.EU communications director Andy Wigmore tweeted that Channel 4 News had “systematically tried to character assassinate Arron Banks on eight separate occasions” because of “anti-Brexit bias”.

Press Gazette understands Channel 4 News is in talks with the Brexit Party about lifting the ban. The Brexit Party has yet to respond to a request for more information about the ban.

Major broadcasters have also been asked whether or not they will boycott Brexit Party events in solidarity with Channel 4 News.

News of the blacklisting has seen several journalists and public figures take to social media, urging broadcasters and other news outlets to boycott Brexit Party events in support of Channel 4 News.

The Times columnist David Aaronovitch tweeted: “If it’s true that the Brexit Party has banned Channel 4 News from its press events then this is both depressing and – given how things have been going – unsurprising.”

Guardian columnist Marina Hyde urged fellow broadcasters to “show solidarity and decline to cover until Channel 4 is reinstated”, adding that the Brexit Party’s behaviour was “Trump bullshit”.

The high-profile Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “All media should boycott Brexit Party events if they have really blacklisted Channel 4 News for exposing the truth.”

Press Gazette has approached UK broadcasters to ask if they will refuse to attend Brexit Party events in solidarity with Channel 4 News.

LBC talk radio station owners Global Radio have said: “This is a matter for the Brexit party.”

The BBC has said it had no comment when approached this morning.

An ITN spokesperson said: “ITN’s news programmes will continue to cover all parties fairly and proportionally to the best of their abilities.”

Sky News has yet to comment.

Picture: Reuters/Andrew Yates

Comments

7 thoughts on “Channel 4 News blocked from Brexit Party events in wake of Nigel Farage investigation”

  1. It is not surprising that the Brexit Party – and UKIP before – feel like outsiders. This is partly because they are new, but more worryingly symptomatic of a system weighted towards – and even evidenced by the commons’ architecture – a two party system. For the SNP to have received more seats than UKIP is a real problem for a country claiming to be democratic. It is not just the building at Westminster that is broken and needs a complete overhaul.

    In the media realm, the UK currently seems to have a fair spread of newspaper opinion and, thanks largely to LBC, a reasonably good spread of radio opinion and coverage too. Sadly, this is not reflected in TV output, which is massively biased towards the status quo and against Brexit.
    One commentator below mentions the number of times that Farage has appeared on QT. A more useful figure to consider is how many times remain panellists outnumber Brexit ones (answer: ‘every’) – despite Brexit having been proven the more popular opinion in two general elections and one referendum. On this issue, the increasingly despised BBC has decided what we ought to hear and think and is forcing it onto us – as it always has on innumerable topics.

    Other things to consider are the weight of resources and viewing between press v TV (massively in favour of TV) and between BBC resources/output and non-BBC output (massively in favour of the BBC). Looked at in terms of resources and reach, any talk of what the press thinks is barely relevant, the BBC is the crushing behemoth in UK media – and it statistically overwhelmingly operates in favour of remain.

    Finally, online. Now that some services have banned certain political opinions and groups – on top of their secretive algorithms that ensure we are fed California liberal values – it can hardly be defended that this is a neutral territory either.

    In my opinion, the independently owned newspaper free(ish) market is the only successful news model in the UK and should be replicated to all platforms. I stopped subsidising the BBC’s state propaganda some time ago, but I would happily pay a TV licence tax if it subsidised a range of independent TV news channels and production companies.

    I don’t agree with the Brexit Party’s exclusion of Channel 4 because it gives easy ammunition to tin foil remain theorists and lowers the tone, but I can certainly understand their frustration at the appalling state of the vast bulk of UK media provision and consumption.

  2. The delusion of Brexiters is something to behold. Just look at this mad nonsense from Paul Leeson.

    1) “Here’s me thinking the mainstream media were already boycotting most Brexit supporting entities.”

    The UK’s national press is overwhelmingly pro-Brexit. Far from ‘boycotting’ Brexit and its exponents, it trumpets them at every available opportunity. This is true of the national press, which labels anybody anti-Brexit as a ‘traitor’, a ‘saboteur’ or an ‘enemy of the people’, and actively incites violence and harassment towards them. But it also includes the BBC, which has, for example, invited Nigel Farage onto Question Time about 30 times in the last six years or so, despite the fact that he’s never held any senior political position. He’s invited onto the show more frequently than long-time ministers.

    By contrast, how many times has Carole Cadwalladr, the journalist who received a Pulitzer commendation for her work exposing criminality by Brexit campaigners, been invited onto QT? Zero. Farage is given BBC air time literally every single day. Cadwalladr has been allowed on the air a grand total of two times.

    Any suggestion that the UK press is anti-Brexit or is ‘boycotting’ Brexit is fundamentally dishonest. It is literally the exact opposite of the truth.

    2) “Most of them are vehemently opposed to the result of the democratic vote we held.”

    a) No they aren’t. Most of the national press is overtly pro-Brexit and attacks anyone who questions Brexit. Vastly disproportionate airtime is given to people who are pro-Brexit.

    b) There was no ‘democratic vote’. Since the referendum, multiple official investigations have proved, categorically, that various Leave campaigns engaged in multiple simultaneous, interconnected campaigns of criminal activity in order to gain an illegal advantage. This criminality was so serious, and the margin of victory so narrow, that had the referendum been binding, rather than advisory, it would have voided the result and the whole thing would have had to be re-run.

    The vote is not democratic when one side is deliberately engaging in multiple concurrent campaigns of illegal cheating.

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