Huwge mistake

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An official report was published about the media in Wales, but it drew on the ‘expertise’ of a ‘comedian’ who had made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse prominent Welsh politicians on social media, was placed under police investigation, tried to finish off this website, and been officially reprimanded, The Eye can reveal

Another used as a speaker to a panel whose views were reported for ‘CITIZENS’ VOICES PEOPLE’S NEWS: MAKING THE MEDIA WORK FOR WALES’, founded the website Nation.Cymru (NC) which has been accused online of “bias” in favour of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC), while a different critic said that key workers had been threatened because of what was given on it.

Detractors have warned that including among the speakers Huw Marshall and Ifan Morgan Jones, shows the dreadful calibre of those in Welsh public life today.

Among the recommendations in the report (which was published by the think-tank Institute of Welsh Affairs [IWA]) are: “We endorse the commitment in the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru Co-operation Agreement to ‘fund existing and new enterprises to improve Welsh-based journalism to tackle the information de cit’ and recommend that further funding be allocated to support new career entrants from a wide range of backgrounds in localities across Wales to access journalistic training, with a speci c focus on improving the media coverage of Welsh matters, Welsh-language provision and addressing under-represented groups”.

He still expounded his views on podcasts as well as given as an ‘expert’ for a report, despite the failure of his media outlets

But ‘providing access’ to the media ‘expert’ Mr Marshall is controversial, given his alarming past.

The huge organisation Newsquest Media Group (NMG) has confirmed the closure of the ‘news’ website Corgi.Cymru (CC) he established originally, saying the project was not “economically sustainable”. The termination of the service came just two months after NMG had also announced the axing of his The National Wales (TNW), a primarily English-launguage title launched on St David’s Day 2021. As the Western Mail (WM) reported about its demise: “There are calls for a review of how £100,000 of public money was given to support the launch of a Welsh language news service that is to close five months later”.

Earlier incidents, too, gave cause for concern.

Armed police surrounded Raoul Moat – but Huw Marshall made a ‘joke’ about the incident

In July 8, 2010 two people had died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes when rampaging gunman Raoul Moat shot them, yet Mr Marshall published a ‘funny’ message on his Facebook (FB) site, reading: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some fun”.

Following many offensive comments, Mr Marshall was told off by Twitter because an account  “violated the Twitter Rules”, and a further one, “Welsh Bollocks”, had also broken their regulations.

 

Welsh Government minister Ken Skates, MS, cannot have been happy at being called a ‘gloating t**t’ by Huw Marshall

The abuse from him of senior politicians, came nine years ago, with one of his remarks hurled at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates, while another was directed at the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black. After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over PC in Ruabon, Mr Marshall (who has himself stood for PC) referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”, and he described Mr Black as a “humourless (sic) t..t”, as well as a “dull, tedious t..t”.

Apart from these sorts of remarks and the Twitter admonishment, it is thought that Mr Marshall may also have been responsible for sending unwanted takeaways to people’s homes, as well as other misdeeds.

In response to a police inquiry into his actions, Mr Marshall said on Twitter that he had told South Wales Police (SWP) he intended to make a complaint, however officers answered by informing him that they had a “responsibility to investigate any reports”.

Following The Eye bringing this out, along with many of Mr Marshall’s other previous controversies, he attempted to have us closed down, alleging “violent threats and harassment”, when there have been no threats of violence from our journalists, and the only harassment has come from him after he used social media to dub senior Welsh politicians “t**ts”, and our Editor a “liar”.

Alun Davies, MS, wished a man who had been investigated by the police “best of luck”

But interesting, high-profile characters backed another of Mr Marshall’s unsuccessful ventures (TNW), even while there were accusations that ‘stories’ in it had been lifted from other publications.

The headline-grabbing Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) member for Blaenau Gwent, and former Welsh Government (WG) minister, Alun Davies, MS, proclaimed on Twitter before the launch  of TNW “Well.  I wish you best of luck with this initiative. Anything to strengthen our news environment should receive a warm welcome”.

A ‘warm welcome’ was given, too, to the ‘pilot’ for it which was also wished “Best of luck” by WG minister Lee Waters, although he seemed to have changed his tune when he actually read it. Mr Waters (a former producer on the BBC Cymru Wales [BBC CW] radio programme Good Morning Wales [GMW]) stated on FB:  “Well I’ve just bought a copy and think its pretty dull”.

Another reader of the paper’s first edition (who is a prominent journalist too) said:  It (TNW) starts with worthy statements about how we deserve better fearless, independent and unintimidated media in Wales and should be happy to pay for it then gives us a timid, third rate product filled mainly with political comment from compromised sources who wouldn’t know a truth if it whacked them over the head with a cricket bat.

Clearly Mr Marshall has support, despite the fact that he has been investigated by the police, insulted senior Welsh politicians, and tried to silence another independent website.

The senior Welsh journalist Tim Hartley tweeted: “Quite properly shamed into subscribing.  Good luck with the campaign Huw and the crew”. Mr Hartley is also a strong football fan (like Mr Marshall), and even recorded a song (with others), supporting the Wales team at the World Cup in Qatar, despite the fact that being gay is unlawful in the country.

Perhaps he was impressed by Mr Marshall’s grand statements about the media, and possibly this may be connected to his inclusion as a speaker for a panel of people looking into its health in Wales. His grandiloquent comments have included ones like these: “A free and independent media is the lifeblood of any democracy…”.

Our Editor, Phil Parry, became angry at being called an “obsessive coward”!

It appears, though, that inquiries by ‘free and independent’ The Eye (unsupported by the taxpayer unlike Mr Marshall’s), are unwelcome to him as he approached a specialist internet company in his fruitless attempt to shut us down.

Evidently he does not know his journalist libel law either (which may, possibly, have contributed to the winding-up of his TNW), because Mr Marshall has said on Twitter that our Editor, Phil Parry, is a ‘liar’ and an “obsessive coward”, linking the inaccurate comments to an earlier piece had been written about the scheme.

Mr Marshall has also called Phil a “self proclaimed journalist”, which may not be libellous but is provably wrong as he trained to be a journalist in 1983 on the best newspaper course in the UK before moving into television, and he has won an enormous number of awards.

Mr Marshall has said, as well, that he has a number of different Twitter accounts, but stesses he reserves one for items which may bother Phil, declaring: “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”, which was the account which “violated the Twitter rules”.

Ifan Morgan Jones, with his partner, said he was voting for a nationalist party

But Dr Jones’ behaviour is almost as worrying.

His CV states:  “I am the BA Journalism Course Leader at the School of Creative Studies and Media at Bangor University, and lecture on the subject of practical journalism”.

However there are other issues which tell a rather different story, and would appear to place a question mark over these comments, and the background of the person making them. Nowhere in the details about him is mentioned qualifications by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), the accepted body for formally accrediting journalists, and Dr Jones’ students could be concerned about the fact that one of the basic planks of good news journalism is neutrality, especially when his website claims it serves all “the people of Wales”, as well as being backed by the taxpayer, but it has been accused of pushing the agenda of Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC).

An extremely disturbing description about the website he founded (NC), on Wikipedia was that: “There is a wider feeling on social media sites where Nation articles are referenced that the website provides very narrow and subjective journalism. Many stories lack factual evidence and are regularly based on stretched concepts that seek to excite a perception of injustice to be directed at the wider UK Government and people of England”.

Perhaps for that “perception of injustice“ and for doubts about its ‘opinion’ pieces, NC could look to its own Facebook (FB) page, where it was accused of “… becoming a battering ram for extreme misguided information (and included) articles (which were designed) to stir up hatred in all….. instead of making us proud to be welsh”. Etc.

That’s not all either. Another FB comment was: “It only takes a brief scan of this site to discover that it’s not what it claims to be. It’s Not a Welsh News outlet. This site is a biased Propaganda Outlet for Left Wing Independence activists and supporters. It’s not impartial or balanced in any way and it targets only a limited section of the Welsh public. An intolerant ‘Echo Chamber’ for Like minded people would be a far more accurate description”. A further one was: “Nation.Cymru claims to be some sort of independent & impartial news service for the people of Wales.  It is clearly nothing of the sort. Judging by the articles it has published to date it is nothing more that (sic) another “echo chamber” for those on the left of Welsh politics who dream of an independent Wales. It clearly ticks all the boxes for Chairman Drakeford (the First Minister of WalesIs that why NC has received public money from the Sennedd (sic) ????”.

These announcements follow earlier criticism of NC on its FB site, with one detractor saying the site is “biased”. It does, though, appear to attract support in extremist circles, with comments about burning down holiday homes, and it has been revealed that key workers property was targeted. One critical observation on NC’s FB platform was:  “It’s a biased online site for some of the people of Wales”. A further outraged remark was: “If people are going to criticise one group they need to consider the actions of others, otherwise its called hypocrisy… we need to ensure all sides play by the rules”.

Serving all ‘the people of Wales’ – except Tories

His website (NC) has boosted the Welsh independence movement by saying, for example, “Support for Welsh independence has risen again”, because it was at 11 per cent whereas the previous year it was seven per cent.

Meanwhile NC’s lack of journalistic neutrality has been shown by the fact that it failed to cover the astonishing news that PC did not declare large amounts of money, but DID publish a piece about the UK Tory party showing it in an extremely bad light, and another prominent item saying “Conservative AM has accepted more free international rugby tickets than any other UK politician”.

One NC ‘news’ piece said that:  “The county of Gwynedd in the north-west has seen the largest collapse in consumer spending as a result of Covid-19 in both Wales and England, according to business data”, while another attacked the whole idea of second homes, which is a policy plank of PC.

Yet one aggrieved writer hit back and said:  “I am genuinely concerned by the amount of vitriol that comes out in the comments on the Nation.Cymru posts, and it makes me feel that we are uncomfortably close to the political posturing of 1930s Berlin.

“We have had property damage (mostly to key workers cars) and threats and insults made to people (again, often keyworkers going about their legitimate business) because “they’re not from round here.””

Comments were made on the Nation.Cymru Facebook site about burning down holiday homes

The article on NC criticising second homes, also appeared to have Covid-19 in its sights, and began:  “If it’s ‘coronavirus holiday’ season in rural Wales, the forecast is frosty for second home owners”, adding:  “From spreading the virus and skipping lockdown to unfairly claiming business relief, second home owners have had bad pandemic press”.

A lengthy ‘report’ about the Conservative Party on the website said:  More than half of donations received by new Conservative MPs in Wales came from secretive fundraising clubs based in the south-east of England”. However the story that NC omitted to cover, but received huge media attention in other outlets, was that PC had been fined tens of thousands of pounds after not declaring money from public coffers.

This was The BBC report:  Plaid Cymru has been fined £29,000 for failing to report cash it received from taxpayers’ funds worth nearly £500,000. The Electoral Commission said over a two-year period Plaid had omitted 36 separate sums from quarterly reports. Plaid had failed to declare cash from the House of Commons authorities, and some cash from the Electoral Commission”.

Ifan Morgan Jones’ views are clear

The fundamental issue of neutrality in news journalism, may be hard for Dr Jones to challenge.

He put on FB a picture of a postal ballot paper, with his pen pointing at the PC candidate, and has posted a photograph of himself and his partner above the slogan “I’m voting Plaid Cymru”. In July 2016 he helped promote a rally for Welsh independence in Caernarfon and said that Wales:  “faced being part of a state which (is) being politically neglected”.

Golwg was a previous employer for Ifan Morgan Jones

Dr Jones has said in the past that he is keen to receive more money for NC than just public cash, as a tweet to the actor Michael Sheen has made transparent, and on his website he has urged readers: “If just everyone who had attended the Yes Cymru march (in support of Welsh independence) over the last year gave us £5 a month we would be raising over half a million pounds a year”.

However it is clear that not simply money is central, but Dr Jones’s media ‘expertise’ too, when a report named him as one of the speakers to a panel, while another was a ‘comedian’ who made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse prominent Welsh politicians on social media, was placed under police investigation, and tried to terminate this website…

 

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Details of a REAL media expert, our award-winning Editor Phil Parry, who has spent 39 years in journalism, and was gripped by the rare neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP)have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.