Gagged by BBC Ariel's editor


On 25 June 1997 I wrote to Landmark Publishing Services, who deal with advertising for the BBC's in-house magazine Ariel. I requested they run an advert "BBC Newsreaders Spying on my Home" in the Personal column. They accepted my instructions and payment, and the following advert did indeed run in Ariel's issue of 8 July 1997.


Following the successful placement of this small ad, I wrote again to Landmark on 17 July 1997, requesting they run exactly the same advert for 10 issues, enclosing payment. Unfortunately, the advert did not appear in any further issues of Ariel, because Ariel's editor Robin Reynolds nixed it. Here is an email from Elaine Smith of Landmark dated 26 August 1997.

With regard to your E-mail of 22 August 1997 concerning your advertisement in the Ariel magazine.

I was instructed by Ariel to remove your advertisement from the classified pages as they were not comfortable with the contents of the Internet address you supplied. I realise we have placed the advertisement successfully for you in the past. Unfortunately this time they decided they did not want it printed.


I'm really sorry for the inconvenience I know this will have caused you, but as you will understand Ariel have the last say in what is printed and what is not.

Kind Regards

Elaine Smith
Classified Advertising Manager.

In my reply to Elaine Smith, I said;

I will speak to them directly, I believe their email address is As you say, if the advert went through the first time, then it should have gone through this time without problems. As I see it, either what is on the website is true (which is my belief) in which case they should allow it to be published, or else it is symptomatic of delusions in which case again any reasonable person would recognise it as such and its publication would not be suppressed. After all Britain is not supposed to have censorship - it isn't a Communist country.

I also wrote to Mr Reynolds, Ariel's editor, asking him to reconsider his decision to censor my advert. He replied with the following letter;


Since a magazine's editor has final say over what appears in the publication, there is nothing further that I can do to encourage Ariel to accept my advert. Mr Reynold's censorship of my legitimate complaint gives the game away a bit, though. The BBC wish people to think of them as truthful and impartial - yet when they are caught harassing one of their audience, they resort to the same censoring tactics characteristic of the regimes they hypocritically condemn.