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Journalist resigns over newspaper's coverage of HSBC tax raids


Photo ReportingJournalist resigns over newspaper's coverage of HSBC tax raids

The chief political commentator for British newspaper The Daily Telegraph has resigned, accusing the media outlet of giving minimal coverage of the HSBC tax raids, so as to maintain advertising deals.

In a 3,000 word statement published on website penDemocracy on Wednesday, Peter Oborne described the paper as committing a "fraud on its readers" by suppressing coverage of leaks showing the bank helped wealthy clients evade taxes.

In contrast, the story received huge coverage from the majority of Britain's media outlets.

On Wednesday the Swiss offices of the British banking giant were searched, after details purporting to show the bank helped some well-off clients avoid paying taxes were published in the media.

A criminal investigation has also been opened into allegations of money laundering.

If found guilty, individuals could be fined and face up to five years in prison.

Oborne said readers "needed a microscope to find the Telegraph coverage," with just "six slim paragraphs at the bottom left of page two on Tuesday, seven paragraphs deep in the business pages on Wednesday."

The Daily Telegraph has dismissed the allegations, calling them "an astonishing and unfounded attacks, full of inaccuracy and innuendo."

HSBC has not commented on the accusations.

'Democracy in peril'

One of the outlets that published the leaks, The Guardian, claimed HSBC had already suspended its account with it.

Oborne was unsurprised, saying "there's a pattern developing here that when HSBC was being investigated, the advertising dries up."

He describes how after a series of articles were published in 2012 critical of HSBC's activities on the island of Jersey in the English Channel, journalists were discouraged from reporting negatively on the bank.

He says he was told by a former Telegraph employee that HSBC is "the one advertiser you literally cannot afford to offend."

Oborne revealed he had originally decided to leave quietly, but changed his mind after the paper's coverage of recent allegations of aiding tax evasion.

"If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril," he wrote.

It comes at a difficult time for media outlets worldwide, who are losing advertisers and readers to online platforms.

an/kms (AP, AFP)


Source: Deutsche Welle



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