If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A Question of Balance

Senior journalists at the BBC are 'spitting feathers' today, after being told that they must interview and give airtime to various leaders of minority parties after the debates with the leaders of the three main parties have taken place.

A new directive issued by corporation executives forces the editors of flagship news programmes to give airtime to minority parties, including the BNP, immediately after the live debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

It's not just the BNP, although that is the headline-grabber. It also includes UKIP, the Green Party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

One source said: "We're all spitting feathers here. This is further proof that the BBC's obsession with 'compliance' is destroying its news coverage and journalism.

Or perhaps Mark Rylance is coming rather belatedly to the idea of balance and fairness?

One comment deserves to rank up there alongside the champagne bottles in BBC corridors on 2 May 1997:

One source said ... "The idea of having to interview the Ukip leader Nigel Farage – let alone Nick Griffin – is turning people's stomachs."

They just don't get it, do they? They are a nationally-funded news organisation, paid for by you and me on pain of criminal charges, and yet they think they have the right to pick and choose which viewpoints (all held by legal political parties) they are prepared to allow to be heard.

If you need evidence that the BBC is out of control, this is it. We already hear more from their 'correspondents' about what politicians said (and 'meant') than we hear from the politicians themselves. Now they want to decide what viewpoints we are to be permitted to hear.

Sorting out the BBC - and radically - must be Cameron's first priority.

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