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Alliance 'scandal' a smokescreen for DUP

I refer to your coverage of the content of an Alliance Party private social media discussion forum (News, February 21).

This coverage filled a front page lead story and was accompanied by two further full pages, containing hostile, unfair and biased attacks on the party.

The following day, a full front page headline, cartoon and further pages of coverage were devoted to this affair by your newspaper.

I accept that a senior politician's frank and unguarded views about two former party members might be worth a snigger and that it might be worth reporting that members were being encouraged to air their views in the media. But I am at a loss to see how this story merited the extent of the coverage it was given.

This negative coverage contrasts with the manner in which you dealt with the surely controversial DUP manifesto launch, at which the party leader refused to take any questions from the media.

This bizarre event was relegated to a later page and given significantly lesser coverage.

It is, of course, embarrassing for a political party's private and informal discussion forum to be leaked to your newspaper, but my complaint is about the disproportionate coverage you have given to it.

The tone of your attack on Alliance, which was sneering and sensationalist, suggests a deep-rooted dislike of the party and a lack of balance in your coverage.

The point about the manifesto launch is that the leading political party, hoping to re-elect our First Minister, refused to permit legitimate questions from the media about matters of public interest, including the RHI scandal that could cost the taxpayer up to £490m.

I contend that these issues - and the failure to address them - are surely the headline event.


Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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