BBC Bias Digest 20 July 2020

NEWSWATCH COMPLAINT: ‘BBC HAS FAILED BRITAIN’: David Maddox (Express 19/7) said that the media monitoring organisation News-watch had accused – in a complaint to Ofcom – the BBC of ‘systematic failure’ to comply with its charter obligations of impartiality over 20 years. Political editor David Maddox said the complaint had been registered in a week where the BBC’s director of editorial policy, David Jordan, had admitted to a House of Lords committee that the Corporation had not adequately covered issues related to Euroscepticism. He added that the report had been accompanied by reports which showed that since 1999, pro-EU voices had consistently had more prominence than Eurosceptic ones. He stated:

Submission has claimed that the BBC’s bias comes through “considerable bias by omission, with central issues ignored or under-reported, and EU news afforded low priority and downplayed” along with “systematic and long-term under-representation of anti-EU and Eurosceptic guests voicing their opinions.”

Mr Maddox said:

“The core of the Complaint supported by recent case-law is that the BBC has wrongly interpreted its obligation of ensuring ‘due impartiality’ and as a result has breached its long-standing Charter obligation ( which goes back to at least the Television Act 1954).

“Rather the BBC is obliged to proceed by identifying the main strands of opinion within the public discourse and give each a fair opportunity to be heard so as to provide ‘a level playing field for competing views and opinions so that those views and opinions are expressed, heard, answered and debated’.”

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