Green’ Scotsman Defends Free Flights Advert

The Scotsman newspaper has defended its decision to carry an advert offering free flights in its ‘green issue special’ last week, which had 18 editorial pages on becoming more environmentally friendly.

The newspaper’s readers’ ombudsman, Ian Stewart, revealing that there had been “a few complaints”, admitted that “there are times when advertising and editorial do sit uncomfortably together”.

The advert was Buy-One-Get-One-Free, for Ryanair.

However, explaining that nobody is realistically advocating a ban on air travel – it was just not attainable – Stewart says: “What we did was to raise the debate and, I hope, help initiate change, but we do not live in a vacuum, and it will not change overnight.

“The fundamental question is: did that one advert undermine in any practical way what we as a newspaper were trying to do editorially on 18 pages – that is to make people think about what they can do to help the environment? My view is that it did not. In fact, in some ways it has helped. The debate continues and the issues are further raised and discussed.”

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