Pre-election

AS SOMEONE not committed to any political party I was looking forward to pre-election comments expressed in the unbiased Weston Mercury, and therefore I am very disappointed...

AS SOMEONE not committed to any political party I was looking forward to pre-election comments expressed in the unbiased Weston Mercury, and therefore I am very disappointed that the newspaper is adopting a policy of not containing any letters that contain political views.

It is understandable that the Mercury wants to avoid countless letters with people of all political ideals slagging each other off, but we cannot get away from the fact that this is probably the most important and closely contested election for many years. It does seem strange that, until recently, there have been regular pieces from John Penrose and Mike Bell but now that at least three other candidates have thrown their hats into the ring, they do not have the opportunity to give their views.

There is a very thin line between editing letters and censorship and in the latest edition there were letters mentioning both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates. In fact some thinly disguised election comments will slip through the net as it will be difficult for the Mercury to ignore the build up to the election.

As a friend of mine has said, 'are we in a democracy or a deMOCKracy' and I would hate to think that our national gift of free speech is being curtailed.


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GEOFF MALHAM

Clarence Grove Road, Weston

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Editor's note: The Mercury's Opinion pages are, primarily, designed to be a platform through which our readers can air their views on matters of local interest and comment on stories which have made the news. They are not a vehicle for election candidates' self-promotion. In election periods the press is governed by strict regulations which, in essence, states all candidates should be given equal coverage. As I'm sure you can understand, this would prove difficult to implement. So therefore we have to make a decision - and we believe our readers do not want their local NEWSpaper turned into a political mouthpiece, even in the run-up to a General Election.

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