A critic of a controversial new ‘media’ service where prominent public figures have pledged hundreds of pounds even though the man behind it has made sick ‘jokes’ about a murderous gunman and is under investigation by the police for alleged harassment, has declared on social media he hopes it will be “unbiased” despite the fact the man who calls himself ‘project co-ordinator’ was a candidate for one particular political party, The Eye can exclusively disclose.
In 1992 Huw Marshall stood as the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru’s (PC) Parliamentary candidate in Cardiff Central, coming fourth with just 748 votes, but his plans to stand for election as a councillor were scuppered when it emerged that he had posted so-called ‘jokes’ about rampaging gunman Raoul Moat on Facebook (FB) and made abusive references to politicians on Twitter.
Now as Mr Marshall (a ‘digital consultant and strategist’) asks for huge amounts of ‘crowdfunding’ money to start ‘New Media Wales’ (NMW) one potential donor has proclaimed he wants the operation to be “unbiased” and not “nationalist” – perhaps unaware of the ‘co-ordinator’s’ background.
He said on Twitter: “I really hope it will be unbiased and not rammed with the anti-government nationalist diatribe from another Welsh news outlet…” and Mr Marshall has answered: “Our main aim isn’t to tell people what to think…”.
In his launch ‘manifesto’, Mr Marshall wrote: “We will be politically neutral, we have to be, our aim will be to deliver scrutiny and clarity around the policies being proposed by the various political parties in Wales in the run up to the Welsh general election being contested in May 2021″.
His ‘plans’ for the ‘unbiased’ Welsh news service have also featured in HoldtheFrontPage.Co.UK – a website for UK journalists.
It reported: “In a blog post about his plans, Huw wrote: ‘We are developing a fully functioning news and media business to serve the whole of Wales, one that delivers the level of service you would expect from a national platform'”.
In a disturbing disclosure the website also stated: “So far a crowdfunding initiative has seen 48 patrons pledge a total of £333 per month to the project”.
Our investigations reveal that several days ago Mr Marshall had a total of 179 patrons pledging £1,221 per month, but he has said he needed a lot more – 500 to launch.
Yet Mr Marshall is clearly not short on confidence, and presumably believes he will reach his target this time.
In a recent tweet he vowed that he could save a huge amount of money for Wales’ biggest broadcaster BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW).
He declared: “…I could go in to the BBC tomorrow and save millions without impacting the content they produce…”
Also on the internet, Mr Marshall has stressed consistently that NMW will be ‘politically neutral’, and repeats it in the website piece.
He said at one point the service was “recruiting an editorial board, with representation from across Wales, politically and culturally, that will monitor our output and ensure neutrality”.
He also announced: “Our service will hold ALL political parties in Wales to account”.
It remains to be seen whether PC will be one of the parties ‘held to account’ and they are words which may ring hollow to many of those who have pledged to give Mr Marshall huge amounts of money after we have revealed his background.
Mr Marshall’s candidature for PC at a General Election came before his plans to stand as a councillor had to be abandoned when it emerged that he had made public ‘jokes’ while the gunman Moat was on the run.
Two people died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes when Moat shot them, yet on July 8, 2010 – with him trying to escape from armed police – Mr Marshall published a message on his FB site, reading: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some fun.
“My Mr Right should be a big strong ginger man with a fiery temper and a jealous nature, who also enjoys camping and writing long letters.
“If this sounds like you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Another post read: “Moat reward… if he isn’t caught by next Wednesday, the rewards (sic) being doubled. It’s going to be a Raul (sic) over”.
In 2013, it also emerged that Mr Marshall had made extremely offensive remarks to leading politicians, once again on social media.
One insult was directed at the Labour MS Ken Skates and another towards 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 referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”.
Mr Marshall described Mr Black as a “humourless t..t” and a “dull, tedious t..t”.
Evidently he is unhappy with the conduct of officers during their alleged harassment inquiry, and on Twitter told South Wales Police that he intended to make a complaint.
However officers responded by informing him that they have a “responsibility to investigate any reports”.
Mr Marshall also has no problem in taking an extremely high profile political stance in relation to support for the Welsh language (which many would not agree with) despite claims of being “politically neutral”.
In December 2018 he began an online petition calling for an ‘independent review’ of BBC content, after an episode of Newsnight the previous August contained a debate which asked the question “Is the Welsh Language a help or a hindrance”.
An online post he published was headlined tendentiously: “Does The BBC have a problem with Welsh?”.
He said: “My concern at the time, along with many others, was the perceived institutional issue the BBC had with the Welsh language. In order to address this I started and (sic) online petition”.
Perhaps others now might start a petition – about why they have pledged money to a man who made ‘jokes’ about a murderer while he was still on the run, called politicians ‘t**ts’, stood as a PC candidate even though he said his service would be “politically neutral”, and is now facing comments about the operation being “unbiased”.
But we are not holding our breath…
Tomorrow our Editor Phil Parry shows why neutrality is vital for all journalists.
The memories of his astonishing 36-year award-winning career in journalism as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major new book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!
If you need something to keep the children entertained during these uncertain times (in Welsh) try Ffwlbart Ffred about the amusing stories of Ffred and his pet.