NUJ says government cheerleaders should stop petty, personalised attacks on journalists

  • 10 Feb 2021

The NUJ has responded to a further attack on HuffPost reporter Nadine White, this time by Conservative MP Neil O'Brien.

Nadine White had asked equalities minister Kemi Badenoch why she had not taken part in a campaign video with other black politicians to counter vaccine hesitation in the black community. Her perfectly legitimate question led to the minister making their email correspondence public on Twitter and calling the journalist "creepy and bizarre". This tweet unleashed vile and often racist attacks of Nadine on social media platforms and threatening emails and phone calls.

Now the MP for Harborough, Oadby & Wigston has further smeared the reporter by accusing her of consistently misrepresenting Kemi Badenoch's views on racism and linking her name to tweets, which have nothing to do with her, which call black MPs who marry white people traitors.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The government needs to get a grip and be clear about where it stands here. On the one hand it has established a heavyweight National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, working with the NUJ to tackle what we all agree is a growing scourge of harassment and abuse of journalists – simply for doing their job.
Then we have government ministers and MP cheerleaders happy to indulge in petty, personalised attacks on journalists – in this case Nadine – undermining their work and livelihood and stirring up abuse for posing unwelcome questions. Journalism plays a critical function in our democracy. This is not acceptable behaviour from anyone in public office and it needs to stop."

Neil O'Brien's article: If you're an ethnic minority Conservative, you just can't win

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