The Ipswich sex-ads ban story again raises the issue of whether or not local newspapers should make moral judgements on who they take money from.
Who could read the comments of former policeman Neil Boast (as exclusively reported by Press Gazette) and not think that the reputation of any paper would be sullied by carrying these sort of ads?
Boast regularly raided brothels which had advertised in local newspapers: The Ipswich Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times.
The women involved were “always trafficked” he said. According to Boast, the men using such services would say: “Look, it’s in the paper, how can it be wrong?”.
It is surprising that only now, three years after the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich, has action been taken by the papers in the town.
But the Archant papers are to be commended for putting doing the right thing ahead of the £40,000 a year which Boast believes those ads brought in.
Before the 2009 European Elections the British National Party bought a lot of local press adverts leading to much debate about whether they constituted the sort of advertiser local newspapers wanted.
I’d argue that editors and publishers should make a moral decision on matters like this and ask themselves whether these are the sort of people they want to do business with and whether this is the sort of money they want to be buying their children’s shoes with.
Plenty of local newspapers still carry advertising for trafficked women in their adult services sections.
Following the comments of former police sergeant Boast they can’t plead ignorance to what those often coded adverts are really all about.
Hopefully other publishers who have yet to ban these ads will soon follow suit.