The director general of the industry body of UK media industry has resigned after a row over its reaction to comments from Duke and Duchess of Sussex to media about racism.
Ian Murray said he would step down from his position in the Society of Editors so that “rebuild its reputation”.
Racist And Bigoted
Prince Harry said some British tabloids were “racist” and “bigoted”.
The editorial board initially denied the allegations, saying such “attacks” were “unacceptable” without giving evidence.
Announcing his resignation on Wednesday, Mr Murray said: “Since the release of the statement the SoE has been widely criticized.
“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 organization can start to rebuild its reputation.”
Media Industry’s Role In Diversity
He added that the initial statement “was not intended to clarify that the UK media industry has a role to play in diversification”.
This comes after ITV presenter Charlene White withdrew as host of an awards ceremony hosted by the Society of Editors – the British Press Awards – saying the organization should find “someone whose views align with yours” to replace her.
In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry was asked if the couple had left the UK because of apartheid.
He said that was “a big part” of why he and his wife had left the UK.
The official recalled a conversation he had during a fundraising event in which he was told that the UK was “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.”
Society Of Editors
The Society of Editors, representing about 400 members of the media, puts a strong defense 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, he made another statement Wednesday saying his first comment “did not reflect what we all know: that there is much work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion”.
The editors of the Guardian and HuffPost UK both said they did not agree with the public.
Alison Gow, president of the Society of Editors, said: “I would like to thank Ian for his tireless work for the public; he has led campaigns for freedom and journalists’ freedom and hard work in secret where the law seems to threaten them.
“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.”