Mea culpa: on the trail of some ‘campaigners’

John Rentoul’s regular round-up of errors and omissions

Saturday 16 October 2021 21:55
<p>An alleged seller of submarine secrets was ‘ensnarled’ in a sting </p>

An alleged seller of submarine secrets was ‘ensnarled’ in a sting

We reported the appointment of Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, as a UN envoy advising African countries on economic recovery after the pandemic thus: “Matt Hancock’s new job as UN envoy ‘sickening’, say campaigners.” The last two words tell us nothing, so they should either be deleted or expanded.

“Campaigners” is a weak journalese word: many people who are quoted in news stories are campaigners of some sort. In this case, it referred to an organisation called Global Justice Now. It is hard to describe briefly: it used to be called the World Development Movement, but now calls itself a “social justice organisation” – both a charity and a company – that aims to “mobilise people in the UK for change, and act in solidarity with those fighting injustice, particularly in the global south”. But its name is as good an expression as any of what it is, so we could simply have said “... says Global Justice Now.”

As a footnote, Global Justice Now got its way: it was reported on Saturday that Hancock’s appointment “is not being taken forward”.

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