Post letters: Election and local media and Lady Aisha Academy

PUBLISHED: 16:21 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:21 03 December 2019

The News Media Association is asking campaigning political parties not to imitate newspapers in campaign material. Picture: NMA

The News Media Association is asking campaigning political parties not to imitate newspapers in campaign material. Picture: NMA


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Please respect and support role of local media

News Media Association wrote an open letter from local media publishers to Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson:

We write to you on behalf of local news brands, in print and digital, which reach 40.6m people a month.

During this election, politicians and candidates from all parties have gone to great lengths to praise local media and its important role in communities.

You have applauded local media's investigative reporting and powerful campaigns and celebrated its vital role in championing local communities.

And you've acknowledged that local news brands are an essential part of the democratic process by holding power to account and providing high-quality news.

It is widely known that the news media industry, particularly the local media sector, is facing significant challenges caused by changing news consumption habits and tech platforms' dominance in the digital advertising market.

So you would understand our amazement when election campaign material imitating local newspapers from the three major political parties started to appear through people's letterboxes.

To discover that local media is under attack by those who had purported to be supporters is extremely worrying.

Why are political parties passing off their fake newspaper propaganda as trusted local news?

Not only are you taking advantage of our highly trusted credentials, you are also actively undermining our business models.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but this has to stop.

The News Media Association and its members are calling on all political parties to immediately end this damaging practice which harms and undermines our democratic society.

Furthermore, we urge you all to help ensure the sustainable future of journalism.

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At a time when trust in politicians and institutions is so low and fake news on social media is rife, why not instead be properly held to account by the journalists who write for our papers and websites?

Whichever party wins the election, we call on you to implement the recommendations of the Cairncross Report, move government advertising spend back into trusted news media channels and protect press freedom.

We look forward to your assurances that these measures will be taken promptly and the damaging effects of your campaigning materials will stop with immediate effect.

School wrong to quiz pupils

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M Ed (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes:

The disreputable action of staff at the Lady Aisha Academy reported in a recent edition of the Post (Barking school asks pupils about their periods if they don't attend prayers) is a complete embarrassment to girls and young ladies required to divulge personal hygiene matters to the school as to reasons why they had not attended prayers in the school.

In a school where prayer is part of the religious custom of the school students could be asked why they may choose not to attend. But the right does not require detailed intimate information to be required, for this could embarrass the students.

Certainly, a school should be allowed to ask why things happen or do not happen but not to pry into delicate personal matters of young adolescent girls.

Should the girls want to give the reason for not partaking in a school activity was because of their menstrual cycle, then this would be their prerogative but to demand it is inappropriate and a bad procedure.

In many cases, it would be very unnecessary, inappropriate, a breach of privacy and embarrassing to the student.

Another very doubtful and disputable practice being conducted in the Lady Aisha Academy is the tracking of the personal physical cycles including menstruation of the students.

If this is entirely confidential and conducted by skilled researchers then it could be acceptable, but the asking of personal questions should be challenged.

If the researchers are females then it would not necessarily be harmful, but others could cause embarrassment and for the students personal dignity could be affected.

Schools need to be more sensitive to these issues within schools, particularly in girls schools.

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