A Pembrokeshire county councillor has hit back at the BBC - calling the broadcasting company a ‘shambolic mess’ following a news report where fellow UKIP members were accused of displaying racism on their YouTube channel.
Clr. Paul Dowson, who represents the Pembroke Dock Central Ward on the county council, has also taken aim at what he calls online ‘bullies’ who have set up Facebook groups with the sole intention of harassing him, simply because he doesn’t agree with their views.
The county councillor has come out in defence of the Voice of Wales hosts Dan Morgan and Stan Robinson after the BBC and S4C broadcast a news item last week where accusations were made by senior politicians from the Senedd that ‘unacceptable’ language and hate speech had been used by the YouTubers and guests on their channel.
In recent months Voice of Wales (a channel in which Clr. Dowson has appeared on himself as a guest several times) has covered the protests outside Penally camp, repurposed in September of last year by the Home Office to house asylum seekers, where they conducted an interview outside the facility with UKIP’s MS for Mid and West Wales Neil Hamilton.
The YouTube channel also broadcast footage of the asylum seekers march into Tenby from the camp back in January during the lockdown, where they spoke with some of the service users from the facility.
They have also been present outside Swansea City FC’s Liberty Stadium where demonstrations against football players taking the knee in solidarity with the BLM movement have taken place recently.
As part of an investigation by BBC Wales’ Newyddion programme, several politicians and parties were interviewed about the Voice of Wales channel, with Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price stating: “Anyone who is helping them and co-operating with them, we must ask them too - what are your politics but that of the extreme right wing?”; whilst Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Nia Griffith, remarked that the channel provoked ‘hate and racism’.
County councillor for Pembroke Dock’s Llanion ward Clr. Josh Beynon also told BBC reporter Gwyn Loader that he had been subjected to harassment by Voice of Wales after he opposed its supporters’ presence at protests against housing asylum seekers,
Clr. Beynon said that the harassment included allegations that he shared a sexual video of an underage schoolgirl - which he stated was false.
In response to the BBC report, Clr. Dowson who announced earlier this year that he had joined UKIP, stating at the time that he believed that his local community, Pembrokeshire and wider Wales had ‘suffered greatly’ at the hands of ‘virtue signalling policies’ handed down from the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, said that he was not surprised by the BBC’s approach after they too had run a piece on him last year where he was accused of sharing images on social media that were racist, allegations he said that were unfounded.
“I am not surprised that the BBC have attempted to discredit the Voice of Wales - from my own experience with the BBC where they took a blatant lie created about me by Unison and the Labour Party, then broadcast it as factual, it comes as no surprise to me that yet again they have served their Labour party controllers by broadcasting flawed and biased journalism,” remarked Clr. Dowson.
“On this occasion they appear to have acted on information provided by an anonymous group namely a fake Facebook page calling themselves ‘Voice of Wales’ who used to go under the guise of Antifa Sir Benfro.
“This group does not carry any credibility due to the fact that they are operating anonymously. In ordinary life complaints or reports made anonymously are not given consideration.
“However the BBC and S4C are more than happy to use whatever information they can get hold of to further the political agenda of those they serve.
“The public are becoming wise to lies and one sided journalism churned out by the BBC which is reflected in the overwhelming support for the defunding of this shambolic mess of a broadcasting company.
“The real Voice of Wales are not racist and they provide a platform for the views and opinions of those who do not get the opportunity from the MSM organisations.
“They have an open invitation for the likes of Antifa to come on to the channel and put their allegations of racism across on a level playing field. Unfortunately they have refused the opportunity repeatedly.
“The BBC, S4C and those supporting these Antifa type of groups have diluted the term racism to such an extent it means very little these days and allows the real racists freedom to go about their true hatred unchecked,” he continued.
“Those behind the fake VOW account are relentless bullies. The individuals behind the page have created a YouTube page dedicated to calling me a racist; a Facebook page ‘Sack Cllr Dowson’ ; Pembrokeshire Musings whose content is mostly aimed at me, and the fake VOW page dedicated to bullying me.
“The individual admins have all submitted numerous complaints to the ombudsman about me for believe it or not...bullying whenever I fight back.
“Every post these people produce is designed to bully someone, usually me. Like all bullies not one of them will face me publicly in person and are truly cowards hiding behind an anonymous page,” continued Clr. Dowson.
Since the news report emerged, BBC Wales have been contacted in light of Clr. Dowson’s response, with a spokesperson from its press office stating that they were ‘not in a position to reveal their sources’ that formed part of the investigation.
Following the BBC coverage, Dan Morgan from Voice of Wales issued the following statement: “In response to the BBC, S4C and other left wing bias news outlets we would firstly like to thank them, as the support we have received has been greater than we could imagine!” he remarked.
“Our subscriber numbers are well on track to double and our channel is being talked about more than ever before. We would secondly like to thank the fake Voice Of Wales/Antifa Sir Benfro for “working with” the BBC on this for “months” as they admitted.
“All the articles ran with the headline ‘Welsh YouTube channel has been ‘accused’ of racism’ - and then went on displaying no evidence of this. This was clearly a planned attack.
“Labour’s Nia Griffiths went on to state: ‘Unfortunately their real aim is to create hatred, create division, to stir up racism’ and Plaid’s leader Adam Price stated: ‘This kind of hate filled and hate fuelled politics can develop into consequences that we should not allow to happen.’
“If the leader of Plaid Cymru has taken time out of his day to make baseless allegations on this non-story then we have clearly ruffled the right feathers. We are appalled that elected members of the Senedd would make such wild accusations with no proof or justification.
“We see the Welsh Assembly as nothing more than an echo chamber, even the Welsh Conservatives who may as well be Liberals piled in. This was nothing more than a suppression tactic used by the Welsh Assembly Government and their comrades in BBC Wales to shut down the growing UKIP support and opposition with the election drawing ever nearer.
“Their plan has backfired and Voice Of Wales has never been so popular.
“Voice Of Wales will continue to fight for our children and their future, we will endeavour to bring you the news that the crooked politicians and MSM doesn’t want you to hear and continue to support the draining of the Senedd swamp,” added the statement.
Meanwhile, since the BBC report aired, the organisation ‘Stand Up to Racism Wales’ has launched a campaign urging people to unite against Voice of Wales - which they have labelled as a ‘Neo Nazi Hate Group’ in a statement this week.
A spokesperson for ‘Stand Up to Racism Wales’ said: “This group must be shunned by all in Wales who value our diverse communities. Most Welsh people firmly reject such fascist poison.
“These are the sort of people who’d have happily worn camp Auschwitz hoodies in the Capitol Hill riot.
“There is a great tradition in Wales, reaching back to the International Brigades who took part in the Spanish Civil War, of opposing racism and Fascism – Paul Robeson was a hero to many Welsh miners.
“We have received numerous messages of support from people similarly sickened by the so called ‘Voice of Wales’ and supporting our events around UN Anti Racism day planned for March 20. As The Manic Street Preachers astutely sung - If We Tolerate This...”
A statement by supporters of Clr. Josh Beynon has also been released this week on social media, hitting back at those accused of ‘harassing’ him and criticising his views.
“We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Clr. Josh Beynon, the first teenage town and county councillor and the youngest councillor ever to be voted to Pembrokeshire County Council,” it reads.
“We are outraged by the homophobic attacks he has been forced to endure from those who are opposed to his political opinions.
“He has been subject to a consistent and unrelenting bullying campaign from individuals within his own constituency and beyond, who have regularly used far-right, racist tropes and direct homophobic slurs in an attempt to undermine and discredit Clr. Beynon’s important and progressive work.
“We are concerned that if this behaviour is permitted to continue unchallenged, it will prevent other young, progressive potential future candidates from a desire to take a stand in local politics and will deny representation to essential, forward-thinking voices of the younger generation, who have the power to bring about genuine, positive, lasting change to the world of local governance.
“Clr. Beynon has recently come under criticism for putting the welfare of the residents of Penally Barracks before the needs of people in his own constituency, a completely false and baseless accusation, coming entirely from a place of racism or xenophobia.
“Clr. Beynon does of course have justifiable concerns about the poor treatment asylum seekers receive from the Home Office and Clearsprings, as well as being appalled by the intimidation they have faced from far-right provocateurs.
“It is entirely wrong that Clr. Beynon ought to have been the victim of homophobia as a result of his work.
“We admire Clr. Beynon’s track record for working towards the greater good for all – not only for his own constituents, but in support of under-represented voices, whoever they may be.”