Meghan racism row claims second casualty as Society of Editors boss Ian Murray resigns
London, March 11, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Ian Murray, the executive director of an industry body for the UK press has resigned after a row over its reaction to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s comments about racism in the media.
Ian Murray said he would step down from his role at the Society of Editors so it could “rebuild its reputation”.
This comes a day after Piers Morgan has decided to leave his presenting role on ITV’s Good Morning Britain following controversial comments he made about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Prince Harry said some British tabloids were “racist” and “bigoted”.
The Society of Editors initially denied that and said such an “attack” was “not acceptable” without providing evidence.
Announcing his resignation on Wednesday, Mr Murray said: “Since the statement was issued the SoE has been heavily criticised.
“While I do not agree that the Society’s statement was in any way intended to defend racism, I accept it could have been much clearer in its condemnation of bigotry and has clearly caused upset.
“As executive director I lead the Society and as such must take the blame and so I have decided it is best for the board and membership that I step aside so that the organisation can start to rebuild its reputation.”
He added that the original statement was “not intended to gloss over the fact the media industry in the UK does have work to do on inclusivity and diversity”.
It comes after ITV presenter Charlene White pulled out as host of an awards ceremony staged by the Society of Editors – the British Press Awards – saying the organisation should find “someone whose views align with yours” to replace her.
In the duke and duchess’ recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry was asked if the couple left the UK because of racism.
He said that was a “large part” of why he and his wife had left the UK.
The duke recalled a conversation he had at a charity fundraiser in which he was told that the UK is “very bigoted”, and he said he replied: “The UK is not bigoted, the UK press is bigoted, specifically the tabloids.”
He added: “But unfortunately if the source of information is inherently corrupt or racist or biased then that filters out to the rest of society.”
The Society of Editors, which represents almost 400 members of the media, put out a robust defence in response.
“The UK media is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account following the attack on the press by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” it said.
After criticism, however, it put out a further statement on Wednesday to say its initial comments “did not reflect what we all know: that there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion”.
The editors of the Guardian and HuffPost UK had both said they did not agree with the Society of Editor’s position.
Alison Gow, president of the Society of Editors, said: “I would like to thank Ian for his tireless work on behalf of the Society; he has led campaigns for journalists’ rights and freedoms and worked hard behind the scenes when it appeared legislation might threaten those.
“The society is committed to representing all journalists and upholding Journalism; I am clear on what our mission must be, and we will strive as an organisation to listen and hear everyone’s views, and be strong advocates and allies for all those we represent.” BBC