Donald Macleod and the West Highland Free Press – not so ‘free’….

Free Church Moderator hits out at journalism’s ‘sad day’
Newspaper criticised in freedom of speech row after writers depart

The Herald11 Jul 2015 – JODY HARRISON NEWS REPORTER

THE Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland has hit out at a Highland newspaper that sacked one of its leading columnists in a row over freedom of speech that saw another writer leave.
The West Highland Free Press has confirmed the firing of former Labour minister and its founding editor Brian Wilson along with the departure of Free Church Professor of Theology Donald Macleod, after the latter discussed North Africa migrants and the spread of Islam in the UK in his weekly column.
Free Church Moderator Reverend David Robertson described the developments as “a sad day for Scottish journalism” and claimed the “once radical newspaper which genuinely allowed difference of opinion has become a sad caricature of itself”.
In Professor Macleod’s last contribution of his 24-year stint at the WHFP, which appeared on May 22, the theologian wrote: “All minorities prefer to keep a low profile and avoid trouble.
“Generations of British Muslims have done exactly that, many have made an invaluable contribution to British society, and many are perfectly prepared to listen quietly while Christians ‘witness’ to them.
“But when minorities become majorities, things change… in the event of Islamic dominance in Britain our friendly Muslim shopkeepers will have little option but to march behind the radicals.”
Rev David Robertson said: “Donald Macleod has been a columnist in the West Highland Free Press for 24 years.
“His ‘Footnotes’ have been the main reason for actually buying the paper. They are always well written, informative, intelligent and provocative.
“I doubt there is a single person who has agreed with everything he said and many will have found some of his columns as infuriating as they are stimulating.
“That is the beauty of thoughtful, intelligent and insightful writing.
“But apparently it is the kind of writing that is no longer welcome in the WHFP.
“Donald Macleod has in effect been fired as columnist, for daring to express a very mild opinion about Islam.”
He added that Professor Macleod, a Free Church minister, often used his column to be critical of the church, but said that “we never fired him nor told him to shut up”.
The Free Church Moderator said: “It is a sad indictment of the values of modern society that a once radical newspaper which genuinely allowed difference of opinion has become a sad caricature of itself.
“It seems that even in Skye there are subjects that must not be mentioned, and a party line which must not be deviated from.
“It’s a sad day for Scottish journalism.”
In a statement, the West Highland Free press said: “We note there has been some speculation around Professor Donald Macleod and founding editor Brian Wilson no longer writing columns for the West Highland Free Press and confirm they will both be no longer writing for us.
“We thank both Brian Wilson and Professor Macleod for their immense contribution to the paper over many years.
“They have rightly earned their reputation as erudite, passionate and respected writers and their regular offerings in the West Highland Free Press will be missed by some readers.
“Further than this, we have no comment to make.”
Moderator attacks newspaper for double sacking over Islam row
The Scotsman11 Jul 2015SHÂN ROSS

THE Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland has hit out at a Highland regional newspaper which sacked two of its leading columnists in a row over freedom of speech.
The Skye-based West Highland Free Press (WHFP), has fired its founding editor Brian Wilson along with the Free Church of Scotland Rev Professor of Theology Donald Macleod after the latter discussed the spread of Islam in the UK.
Mr Wilson, who also writes a column for The Scotsman and was a minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, was sacked for defending Profmacleod.
Free Church Moderator
Rev David Robertson described the developments as “a sad day for Scottish journalism” and claimed the “once radical newspaper which genuinely allowed difference of opinion has become a sad caricature of itself”.
Prof Macleod said: “I am upset and vexed for Brian. He has paid the price for supporting me.”
Last night Mr Wilson told The Scotsman: “From my perspective it’s completely a freedom of expression issue and of course it saddens me that this is the outcome.”
The WHFP said: “We thank both Brian Wilson and Professor Macleod for their immense contribution to the paper over many years. “They have rightly earned their reputation as erudite, passionate and respected writers and their regular offerings in the West Highland Free Press will be missed by some readers.”

Prof MAcleods original article is here:

http://www.donaldmacleod.org/?p=494

4 thoughts on “Donald Macleod and the West Highland Free Press – not so ‘free’….

  1. I think they need to change their name. Surely they can’t describe themselves as ‘Free Press’ any longer. Donald Macleod is one of the very few columnists I would pay to read and Brian Wilson is obviously an admirable man of principle. This is a sad loss to Scottish journalism.

  2. Is there any way you can point me to May 22nd article by Professor MacLeod. Thank you for informing me of those happenings . I am of the opinion that the WHFP have made undoubtedly their biggest blunder since its conception .

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