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December 19, 2023

Guido Fawkes editor Paul Staines dropped as Amnesty award judge

Staines had been chosen to help judge the written news category.

By Bron Maher

Guido Fawkes editor and owner Paul Staines has been dropped as a judge for the Amnesty International UK Media Awards.

Staines was listed as a judge for the written news category at the human rights organisation’s awards for 2024.

But on Tuesday former BBC and ITN journalist Iain Overton questioned on X/Twitter whether Staines, a sometimes controversial libertarian associated with the right wing of British politics, was an appropriate judge for an organisation devoted to “human rights and dignity”.

He accompanied his criticism with a screenshot of a Guido tweet from 2017 in which Staines pictured himself in bed with a cardboard cutout of Labour MP Diane Abbott.

Overton also noted that Staines has previously campaigned for the return of the death penalty, a punishment that Amnesty campaigns against.

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Overton later tweeted that Amnesty had told him Staines was no longer a judge.

A spokesperson for Amnesty International confirmed to Press Gazette: “In light of a number of concerning posts we have withdrawn the invitation to Paul Staines be a judge on our media awards. We will be reviewing our policies relating to the selecting of judges in the future.”

Staines himself had not been told, telling Press Gazette that our request for comment was the “first I have heard about it”.

Shown the series of tweets, Staines said: “Très amusant.”

Other judges for Amnesty’s written news category are Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips, New Statesman international editor Megan Gibson and world affairs editor at The Times Catherine Philp.

[Read more: Interview – Guido Fawkes and MessageSpace owner Paul Staines on how political ads bounced back despite Covid-19]

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