Newspapers in Somerset hit by XR action

News deliveries in Somerset were interrupted yesterday by Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests. Action by the protest group stopped printing of The Times, Sun and Telegraph.

Chard News and WHSmith in Taunton both reported issues with getting copies of national dailies. Neither Smiths nor major publishers such as NewsCorp will worry too much about the inconvenience. It will certainly have been irritating. However this action will be damaging to many small family businesses, ie newsagents. At the end of a pandemic that has hit small local businesses hard, this is especially unfortunate.

XR action is intended to bring attention to the need to take action over climate change. In this case the action is curious. Not all newspapers were targeted. Only some. Whether this was deliberate or incidental is not yet clear. The effect, accidental or not, amounts to censorship.

The Leveller remains deeply critical of the inaction on climate change across local authorities in the UK and Somerset in particular. Progress has been laughable. We are supposed to be signed up to being carbon neutral by 2030. In the August Leveller you can read about the lack of progress with carbon neutral housing in both Sedgemoor and Somerset West & Taunton.

The aims of XR are hard to argue with. The methods, at least in this case, less so.


  • The actions were targeted at newspapers which have repeatedly persistently the threat of climate change.
    Papers have lost production without this much fuss before.
    In fact, the Times for a whole self-inflicted year.
    Your screech that the freedom of the press is threatened is hyperbole.

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