Eve Pollard speaks of press freedom fears

Posted on: June 10, 2019 by admin

On Friday night at the London Press Club Ball where she was awarded the Journalist laureate, Eve Pollard founder of Women in Journalism and London Chair of Reporters without Borders spoke about Women in Journalism and other media organisations working on diversity in media.

Saying, “if newspapers are seen as being in the hands of a white elite we can not possibly reflect the changing face of Britain.

She also mentioned the risks to press freedom that the British media, newspapers and the BBC, faced from interference from the Labour Party as outlined in their 2018 Labour Party Conference.

She also referred to anti-semitism in the Labour Party.

She said: “in the early hours of this morning the Peterborough by-election was won by Labour’s Lisa Forbes. A straight forward investigation into Lisa Forbes social media activity unearthed that the new MP recently “liked” a post claiming that Theresa May has a “Zionist Slave Master Agenda,” that she had endorsed the bizarre conspiracy theory that ISIS was created by the CIA and Mossad, stating that she had “enjoyed reading this thread so much” and that she had signed a letter rejecting the IHRA’s pretty much universally accepted definition of anti-semitism.”

She quoted Jess Phillips labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, when she tweeted on Friday “glad that the Brexit party did not win but can not be gleeful or proud because of how it shows that anti-semitism is becoming normal in the party.

“Lisa ignored and endorsed anti-semitic things. I’ll take her explanation and apology at face value. But with every case the Party’s values chip away and our ability to stand up against hate erodes.”

Eve continued: “And so it goes on.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party – one I do not recognise as the once great party it was, has made anti-semitism acceptable and enables it to grow.

“You are journalists, you hold truth to power. As one of you and as a direct child of the Holocaust and a proud first generation Brit, I ask you to wield your pens and do everything you can to cure us of this poison.

“In this week, marking the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings, we are reminded that freedom and peace are never to be taken for granted. They have to be fought for and cherished.”

There followed a four minute standing ovation from the audience which then had to be asked to sit.

Eleanor Mills, WIJ chair, Editorial Director, Sunday Times & Editor, Sunday Times Magazine said ‘’Eve Pollard is a Fleet Street legend, one of the very first women to edit a national newspaper, she topped being editor of the Sunday Mirror by editing the Sunday Express. Throughout her incredible career – starting at Honey magazine, launching Elle in the US, being an editor, not to mention her forays into dress designing and being a royal TV star – Eve has not only propelled herself to greatness but made sure she brought other women along on the journey with her.

Tonight we are here to celebrate Eve’s massive contribution to the industry she loves, her sisterliness, her commitment to other women’s careers and to diversity before that was even a thing. It is 25 years since she started Women in Journalism to create a womens network to rival the old boys network. Throughout that time she has been unstinting in her support for the women who came behind her, enveloping us all in her boundless enthusiasm, warmth and intelligence. On top of her vast professional achievements she has also been a brilliant wife and mother – there is a whole table of her family here tonight as testament to that. Her career has been a beacon to many women within the industry, proof that you can be successful but remain a real person – the true meaning of having it all. Eve, Queen of Fleet street, we salute you.’’

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “Eve is quite correct to highlight the very real dangers to press freedom that continue to stalk the political landscape in Britain. 

“It is fitting for someone of Eve’s tremendous editorial credentials that she chose this moment when accepting her very much deserved award to continue the fight for a free press.”