By JR on Monday, June 18, 2012
A British schoolgirl, Martha Payne, has been banned from posting pictures of her school dinners on her hugely successful blog despite it earning worldwide praise for its content.
The nine year-old's blog NeverSeconds has had more than two million hits, sparked debate about the state of school dinners across the globe and raised at least £2000 for charity.
But on Friday it emerged the local council has banned her from posting pictures on her blog, started seven weeks ago, because of a “headline in a newspaper”.
Despite the blog’s huge success and the “brilliant” support from her unnamed school, Argyll and Bute Council bureaucrats made the decision after the negative publicity.
The decision has left the schoolgirl, from Lochgilphead, Argyll, devastated and her 39 year-old father, Dave, angry at the “unfortunate” decision, which will prevent her from continuing the blog.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Payne [the girl's father] agreed the ban was an “own goal” by the council that will only serve to generate more criticism because "the pictures tell the story about how good the food is.”
"I have no idea what process the council went through, but it just seems to me incredibly short-sighted to penalise a girl who's actually been a force for good and a force for change by slapping her down and silencing her. If that had happened in China, we would be up in arms about it."
Because her home is on the west coast of Scotland, standards for school meals are different and improvements throughout Britain appear not to have been applied to her unidentified school.
With permission from teachers, she photographed her £2 school lunches and wrote about them, posting pictures online every day and added a rating under her “Food-o-meter”. Her first picture was a slice of pizza and a single potato croquette, alongside some sweetcorn and a cupcake for desert.
UPDATE: After huge criticism, Argyll and Bute council have now backed down on their ban