Politician accuses paper of Sinn Fein bias

North Downs DUP MLA Peter Weir has accused the Andersonstown News of acting as a ‘Sinn Fein equivalent of Pravda’after it printed a front-page apology to the party’s leader Gerry Adams over a critical opinion piece.

According to Weir, the article about Adam’s performance as West Belfast’s MP was not libellous and the apology confirmed that the paper was one-sided in favour of Sinn Fein.

He has renewed calls for a ban on government and European funding being given to the newspaper.

Weir said: ‘In this context it is truly bizarre to learn that this week’s edition of the Andersonstown News carries a front-page apology to Gerry Adams – not for libelling or slandering him, but because one of its columnists dared to pen an article critical of the Sinn Fein leader and his performance as the Member of Parliament for West Belfast over the last 20 or so years.

‘Never, in all my time in politics, have I heard of a newspaper apologising to a politician because one of its opinion writers was critical of them.

‘This raises serious questions about just how free a press the Andersonstown News really operates. Is it a newspaper in the sense understood throughout the rest of the world, or is it merely a Sinn Fein propaganda sheet?

‘This latest episode will leave many people to draw the conclusion that it is very much the latter.”

The Andersonstown News is published twice weekly and has a circulation of 8,538 on Mondays, and 14,598 on Thursdays.

A spokesman for the paper declined to comment.

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