Newquest, the parent company of the Thurrock Gazette, has been slammed for running paid-for-banners advertising the BNP.
Adverts have featured in the Colchester Gazette and the Southend Echo.
Managing Editor of the Echo, Martin McNeill said:
“We are accepting paid-for advertising from any political parties or candidates standing in the current elections. I appreciate how strongly many people feel about the BNP, but it would be undemocratic and against the principle of free speech to refuse to accept any party’s advertising provided it falls within our guidelines.
“The Echo has consistently opposed the BNP in our Comment column and will continue to do so. As editor, I have twice been taken to court, unsuccessfully, by a BNP activist who did not like my editorial stance. I also regularly receive BNP hate mail. Despite this, I feel I must defend the right of all parties to take out paid-for advertising in support of their election candidates.