The objections, including a rebuke from the Guardian newspaper, come after the Society of Editors rejected allegations made by Prince Harry that racism had played a role in how the British press covered his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray said in a statement on Monday that it was “untrue” that sections of the UK press were bigoted. “It is not acceptable for the Duke and Duchess to make such claims without providing any supporting evidence,” he said, pointing to “universal supporting coverage” in the media of their marriage.
The Society of Editors has 400 members, mostly working journalists, and runs the Press Awards, the premier annual awards event in British journalism. The event was formerly called the British Press Awards.
“The UK media has never shied away from holding a spotlight up to those in positions of power, celebrity or influence,” Murray said in the statement. “If sometimes the questions asked are awkward and embarrassing, then so be it, but the press is most certainly not racist.”
But several British journalists disputed that view.
“Every institution in the United Kingdom is currently examining its own position on vital issues of race and the treatment of people of colour. As I have said before, the media must do the same. It must be much more representative and more self-aware,” added editor-in-chief Katharine Viner.
HuffPost UK editor-in-chief Jess Brammar said on Twitter she disagreed with the Society’s assertion that it is “untrue that sections of UK press were bigoted.”
And Anne Alexander, senior political producer for ITV’s “Good Morning Britain,” added that she was “still trying to process this ridiculous statement.”
“How can you possibly say that no part of the media is bigoted? It’s a partial reflection of society, which is in parts bigoted,” Alexander added.
Murray did not immediately respond to questions from CNN Business on Tuesday.