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May 21, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:49am

Channel 4 News blocked from Brexit Party events in wake of Nigel Farage investigation

By James Walker

Channel 4 News is understood to be in talks with the Brexit Party after it was blacklisted from party events following an investigation into the funding of leader Nigel Farage.

Editor Ben De Pear said his team had been “unaware of the six-week ban” until last Thursday – the day its investigation was published.

It revealed that former UKIP leader Farage had received almost half a million pounds in funding from businessman Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU pro-Brexit campaign group.

Channel 4 News reported that the cash was used to fund Farage’s “lavish lifestyle” in the wake of the 2016 EU Referendum.

The European Parliament today announced it would launch an investigation into the Brexit Party leader over the £450,000 of undeclared funding.

Prior to the Channel 4 News investigation, the broadcaster had “full access” to events and Farage himself, it said.

Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear tweeted: “We hope to resolve our access ban from Brexit Party events ASAP.

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“We were unaware of the six-week ban until last Thursday when we broadcast this Nigel Farage investigation, revealing he had been bankrolled by £450k from Arron Banks.

“Until then we had full access, including to Farage.”

Leave.EU communications director Andy Wigmore tweeted that Channel 4 News had “systematically tried to character assassinate Arron Banks on eight separate occasions” because of “anti-Brexit bias”.

Press Gazette understands Channel 4 News is in talks with the Brexit Party about lifting the ban. The Brexit Party has yet to respond to a request for more information about the ban.

Major broadcasters have also been asked whether or not they will boycott Brexit Party events in solidarity with Channel 4 News.

News of the blacklisting has seen several journalists and public figures take to social media, urging broadcasters and other news outlets to boycott Brexit Party events in support of Channel 4 News.

The Times columnist David Aaronovitch tweeted: “If it’s true that the Brexit Party has banned Channel 4 News from its press events then this is both depressing and – given how things have been going – unsurprising.”

Guardian columnist Marina Hyde urged fellow broadcasters to “show solidarity and decline to cover until Channel 4 is reinstated”, adding that the Brexit Party’s behaviour was “Trump bullshit”.

The high-profile Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “All media should boycott Brexit Party events if they have really blacklisted Channel 4 News for exposing the truth.”

Press Gazette has approached UK broadcasters to ask if they will refuse to attend Brexit Party events in solidarity with Channel 4 News.

LBC talk radio station owners Global Radio have said: “This is a matter for the Brexit party.”

The BBC has said it had no comment when approached this morning.

An ITN spokesperson said: “ITN’s news programmes will continue to cover all parties fairly and proportionally to the best of their abilities.”

Sky News has yet to comment.

Picture: Reuters/Andrew Yates

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