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Media guidelines: Reporting the TaxPayers’ Alliance

Story planning flowchart
Here's an unmissable tool for journalists tackling tax and public spending – our free-to-download media guidelines for reporting the TaxPayers' Alliance.

The guidelines feature our essential top 5 reporting tips, and a handy flowchart to help you plan your story.

And if you're not a journalist, the guidelines make a great gift to send to those reporters who've perhaps been a little too credulous in their coverage of our favourite campaign group.

 

 

 

Posted by Other TPA at 01:13pm on 27 August 2009
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Very funny! smile

Posted by Alex Ross at 08:53pm on 27 August 2009

Absolutely spot on.

I wrote to the BBC about this months ago, when The Alliance was quoted on Today as if they were experts not just political activists looking for air time. They were never challenged. The response I got from the BBC was weak.

Also they were on the BBC in a programme about pensions in the public sector. A lot of what they said was factually inaccurate and misleading.

Does anyone know their backers? I cannot find out.

Posted by Bruce White at 04:57pm on 9 October 2009

See http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/oct/09/taxpayers-alliance-director-tax

Posted by Pete R at 06:52pm on 10 October 2009

I sent this email to the PHSO Ombudsman

Dear Sir,

I rang the Preston Office of the Working Family Tax Credit hotline last week. Expecting the usual security questions, after giving the correct answers. I was asked or should I say told, that the answers would be validated through Experian. I objected and I was asked further security questions and eventually, I had my query resolved.

My complaint is:

1 Why does a Government Department need to be using a private company which is owned by a   Bank, to validate who I am?
2 Is there a link between the two HMRC and this company and do they share information, private information?
3 Is HMRC paying for this service if so. Why? When the normal questions and answers are quite acceptable.
4 Has a salesman from Experion sold this “can’t do without service” to the HMRC another waste of Tax payers money?

I look forward to a acceptable reply

Yours faithfully

S Berrywell

Posted by berrywell at 04:53pm on 3 May 2010

I have been trying, for months to get action on the TPA advert in cinemas, which gave false information about the European Unions last year, during the EU elections.  It has been difficult to get any action but here’s what happened.

I complained to the Advertising Standards Agency last November. At the end of February they finally decided that they were not able to investigate claims, however justified, when the advert’s function is to ‘influence voters….....’

I then decided to follow up with The Electoral Commission (EC), for two reasons. Firstly the TPA claimed to have kept the EC aware and secondly because of Lord Bingham’s Ruling.In early 2008 Lord Bingham ruled that an ad ban is a justified limitation on freedom of expression. In fact, an ad ban against the television broadcast of any political ad (including a political ad aimed at “influencing public opinion on a matter which… is a matter of public controversy”) is justified. It was upheld in March 2008 by the House of Lords, in a case involving an animal rights group that wanted to broadcast an ad about endangered primates.

The key paragraph, from Lord Bingham is:

‘The fundamental rationale of the democratic process is that if competing views, opinions and policies are publicly debated and exposed to public scrutiny the good will over time drive out the bad and the true prevail over the false. It must be assumed that, given time, the public will make a sound choice when, in the course of the democratic process, it has the right to choose. But it is highly desirable that the playing field of debate should be so far as practicable level. This is achieved where, in public discussion, differing views are expressed, contradicted, answered and debated. It is the duty of broadcasters to achieve this object in an impartial way by presenting balanced programmes in which all lawful views may be ventilated. It is not achieved if political parties can, in proportion to their resources, buy unlimited opportunities to advertise in the most effective media, so that elections become little more than an auction. Nor is it achieved if well-endowed interests which are not political parties are able to use the power of the purse to give enhanced prominence to views which may be true or false, attractive to progressive minds or unattractive, beneficial or injurious. The risk is that objects which are essentially political may come to be accepted by the public not because they are shown in public debate to be right but because, by dint of constant repetition, the public has been conditioned to accept them. The rights of others which a restriction on the exercise of the right to free expression may properly be designed to protect must, in my judgment, include a right to be protected against the potential mischief of partial political advertising.’

The EC were reluctant to take action and so I sent them the video link to the ad, which seemed to change their view. However, the upshot is that because no specific party was referred to, they told me in May that they would take no action. I suspect that this was not sufficiently important for them with the election in the offing.

I suggest that Bingham’s ruling is a way to stop further adverts of this nature but any action must be immediate and coordinated.

Posted by Bruce White at 10:38am on 22 July 2010

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