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Prejudice over professionalism? A respected specialist archiving firm has refused to provide a quotation for archiving copies of Psychic News.

In an email on 29th April, David Cordery, of Max Communications (MC), wrote:

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to quote for digitising and processing your magazine archive. Unfortunately, I have to say that a number of people here are struggling with the subject area you cover and as such I feel we will not be providing a costing and will pass up the opportunity.”

The astonishing decision was all the more inexplicable, given that it came after discussions with the Kent-based firm had reached an advanced stage and had included a visit to our Hertfordshire office.

Baffled, and with a growing suspicion that religious prejudice might have played a part in this sudden turn of events, we wrote to David Cordery asking on what basis his staff were “struggling”.

We pointed out that “the job of archiving should not require the archiver to believe in or accept the material that is being scanned and preserved for posterity, and if you allow people you employ to let their own views influence the work you do, that raises serious doubts about Max Communications’ professional standards.

Psychic News is the independent voice of a recognised religion, Spiritualism, which has over 400 churches and centres in the UK and whose ministers conduct weddings, funerals and other services. [It] has been on sale at newsagents, weekly, for most of its 80 years’ existence. Bound copies of Psychic News are held by the British Library which has never objected to its contents.”

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to quote for digitising and processing your magazine archive. Unfortunately, I have to say that a number of people here are struggling with the subject area you cover and as such I feel we will not be providing a costing and will pass up the opportunity.”

Knowing that MC has international human rights champions Amnesty International as a major client, we asked how they might react to the news of MC’s refusal to archive material that some of its staff “struggle with”.

We also enquired how those same employees would react “if another of your clients, Cambridge University, asked you to archive some of the extensive psychic and parapsychological papers that it holds, and how your company would react to those employees’ [refusal] to handle such material.”

In addition, we asked how MC would handle a similar conflict “if another of your clients, the Natural History Museum, asked you to archive the important papers of Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer with Darwin of the Theory of Evolution. Those papers contain many reports of Wallace’s experiences with mediums and Spiritualism.”

David Cordery replied within half an hour of our sending this email. It addressed not a single point we had raised.

 “Thank you for your email and the points you make. I apologise if my decision has caused any inconvenience, or unrest. I will ensure that the volume is returned safely.”

We chose to write to MC at length because we found it incomprehensible and offensive that in a multi-faith society a reputable firm would refuse to assist in the preservation of important material, produced by a legally recognised religion, purely on the basis that some of its employees struggled with the subject matter. We also question the legality of MC’s decision, based as it is on discrimination about the legitimately and sincerely held views of others.

Given that mediumship and interest in the afterlife are now popular with and accepted by millions of people around the world, on television, radio and in the mainstream media, we have nothing but contempt for the discriminatory behaviour and lack of professionalism displayed by Max Communications.


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