Impartiality And The BBC

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

I actually read this story in the Evening Standard, but the Times also has it:

"The BBC is facing a barrage of criticism after forcing one of its most senior newsreaders to step down as patron of a charity that supports farmers in the developing world.

The corporation has told George Alagiah, presenter of the Six o’Clock News, that he must leave his unpaid position at the Fairtrade Foundation because of impartiality rules, although he has held the post for seven years.

A BBC spokeswoman said: 'The BBC has guidelines in place to ensure our reputation for impartiality is protected. That is paramount.'"

Now, leaving aside the fact that Fairtrade is a con designed to make Guardian readers feel better, it's quite incredible how the BBC takes its responsibility to maintain impartiality seriously on some things, but not others. Alagiah has been forced to quit a position which paid nothing, offered no real perks, and which was in an organisation with no real power. Why then, does the BBC categorically refuse to admit how many of its employees are members of the Labour party - or any party, for that matter? Why is it acceptable for BBC employees to have an enthusiastic and sometimes vested interest in the party which forms the Government, but George Alagiah can't sit around in a dank room talking about overpriced Mexican coffee?
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2 Responses to “Impartiality And The BBC”
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Norton Folgate said...

Looks to me like George Alagiah was a token gesture sacrifice to try and deflect the claims about the BBC's obvious unimpartiality.

4 August 2009 at 22:18
Edgar said...

I guess your questions were rhetorical but they have answers nevertheless.

"Why then, does the BBC categorically refuse to admit how many of its employees are members of the Labour party - or any party, for that matter?"

Inconvenient truth.

"Why is it acceptable for BBC employees to have an enthusiastic and sometimes vested interest in the party which forms the Government, but George Alagiah can't sit around in a dank room talking about overpriced Mexican coffee?"

Window dressing.

5 August 2009 at 16:00