This publishing house offers a voice to people who can write, who have something to say, and who have insight to important events, regardless of race, colour or creed. We have published Ulster Loyalists, former SAS and Military Intelligence soldiers, those of left wing, right wing and everything in between. And we certainly would publish an alternative version of the Rangers story if a well researched and written volume was available, which, at time of writing, is not. We do not discriminate. Freedom of speech is what we defend at all times.
There were many troubling aspects of the events of Sunday after The Sun published its original article on our author, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. We thought the article, pointing out that Phil was the first journalist to highlight the Rangers story, was fair and accurate. We became aware of a reaction to it throughout Sunday.
We defend anybody’s right to protest, to complain and to object to any book. Freedom of expression is essential in democracy. But so is free speech. That is why we back Phil Mac Giolla Bhain utterly. Certainly Phil expresses his world view in polemic ways, as have many great polemicists before him. Having got to know our author well during the last few months we know that he is neither a bigot, nor is he sectarian, a view we share with Professor Roy Greenslade. We have no time for any form of sectarianism, or racism. Phil’s work over recent years has been focused on challenging racism, especially anti-Irish racism in Scottish society.
We recognise the pressure The Sun was put under and we understand the commercial reality behind their decision. We also note that there was no problem with the contents of the book, which of course The Sun read and approved before offering serialisation.
There has been a long-standing campaign to de-legitimise Mac Giolla Bhain as a “proper” journalist. Yet, how much more a “proper” journalist could he be after being the first to break the Rangers story when many “proper” journalists for whatever reasons, didnt do so. The “Proper” is in the pudding. Someone who was not a “proper” journalist would not have the full backing of the President of the National Union of Journalists.
Technology has brought writing to a crossroads. We have Mainstream Media and we have the ever growing New Media of bloggers and tweeters. Great talent within this new generation of New Media perhaps will always be considered upstarts by some. But we judge them on their research, their scoops and their writing.
4th Sept 2012