Daily Telegraph's Peter Oborne urges HSBC coverage review

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Media caption,

Peter Oborne: "The Telegraph needs to explain to its readers why it didn't report the HSBC story"

The former chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph has called for an independent review of the newspaper's guidelines over its coverage of the HSBC tax scandal.

Peter Oborne, who has resigned, claimed prominence was not given to the HSBC story because of commercial interests.

He told the BBC an assessment of the relationship between advertising and editorial was needed.

The paper said his earlier statement was "full of inaccuracy and innuendo".

In a lengthy statement published on the OpenDemocracy website on Tuesday, Mr Oborne explained he had already resigned from the paper "as a matter of conscience" because of a number of its editorial decisions.

Mr Oborne said last week's BBC Panorama investigation into HSBC was "hardly mentioned" in the Telegraph compared to other papers where it got "enormous play".

'Unfounded attack'

Speaking to the BBC, he urged the paper to explain its editorial judgement.

He said: "The Telegraph must now call an independent review.

"It can't be done by the chief executive, he has been running the show, we need an independent outsider to come in and do a full assessment of the relationship between advertising and editorial.

"A fraud is being perpetrated on Telegraph readers who buy the paper expecting to get the news and instead get something that gives the impression it is vetted by the advertising department."

A Telegraph spokesman said the "distinction between advertising and our award-winning editorial operation has always been fundamental to our business".

They added: "We utterly refute any allegation to the contrary.

"It is a matter of huge regret that Peter Oborne, for nearly five years a contributor to the Telegraph, should have launched such an astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo, on his own paper."

HSBC tax scandal in the Telegraph

Source: Nexis

Meanwhile, the Guardian has claimed that HSBC put its advertising account with the newspaper "on pause" during negotiations over last week's stories about the Swiss banking arm.

Mr Oborne said the bank needed to explain this, adding: "There is a pattern developing here that when HSBC is being investigated the advertising dries up.

"They need to explain why they suspended their advertising in the Guardian last week and in the Telegraph three years ago."

HSBC told the BBC it would not comment.

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