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BBC sparks row over advert ban on alliance

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 03, 2013

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The BBC has banned the Countryside Alliance from advertising in its Countryfile Magazine because the corporation defines the CA as a 'political campaigning group'.

Other organisations, like the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, which has campaigned against some country sports and is currently seeking a ban on lead shot in shooting, are allowed to advertise in BBC publications it has emerged.

Charlotte Cooper, CA, spokeswoman, said yesterday an agency working for the BBC initially contacted the Alliance asking if they wanted to advertise in the Countryfile Christmas Gift Guide, to appear in next month's issue.

"We said that we would and sent over the copy," she said. "Then a little later they came back to our advertising team and said 'sorry, this has been pushed upstairs for vetting and they have said there is no way we can accept this ad because you are a political campaign group'."

Ms Cooper pointed out that other advertisers being given space in the magazine included the online country sports retailer, Fur, Feather and Fin and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. The WWT has campaigning articles opposed to the Severn Barrage and objecting to proposals for fracking on its website.

Countryside Alliance executive chairman, Barney White-Spunner, said: "This is another insult from the BBC urban elite to the 11 million licence payers who live in the countryside."

Countryfile is the spin-off magazine for the hugely popular Sunday night BBC1 programme of the same name that deals with country issues, farming and outdoor pursuits.

The BBC did not comment.

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