Who guards The Guardian? … is a gag the staff at the world’s most esteemed liberal news site are probably heartily sick of. Hard to avoid these days as the organisation’s staggering losses reach nearly 60 million quid in the last year alone, causing mass lay-offs, and the removal of ex-editor Alan Rusbridger from the chair of the Scott Trust, the fund that was intended to guarantee the paper financial stability in perpetuity.
The search for more funds has led The Guardian into some murky territory — not least “Guardian Labs”, the fancy name for upmarket advertorial with a series of corporate partners. First in the current line-up is Qatar Airways — a bit of a problem, since the company has had an appalling labour/human rights record with its air hostesses, who for years were treated as indentured servants, kept in compounds between flights, and ferried to and from planes by security guards. Qatar Airways is still not great; an ILO report from last year exposed that stewardesses are sacked if married or pregnant, and they must be picked up from work by a male relative. We await further Labs with interest — and with even more interest, any reaction from its Oz op-ed team to these extremely close corporate tie-ups.