Watch Farage as BBC Crumbles in Lineker Impartiality Row – Latest News
A row over the impartiality of Britain’s state broadcaster’s highest-paid personality has ended in the corporation backing down and apologising for trying to enforce its own obligations to be politically neutral, a development which “bodes very badly for the future”, Nigel Farage says.
Despite viewing figures soaring for this weekend’s pundit-free edition of British football programme Match of the Day after ex-player turned pundit Gary Lineker was suspended for using his platform to criticise the government, the state broadcaster the BBC has re-instated the broadcaster and issued an apology.
This, Brexit leader Nigel Farage says, is a bad sign for Britons who pay for the BBC through a defacto-mandatory television tax backed by the threat of fines and even imprisonment for non-payers as when faced with the power of its top-paid star the corporation ultimately backed down.
This is a bad, shameful day for the BBC and will come as sickening news to license fee payers. pic.twitter.com/Za46rcAXd1
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) March 13, 2023
Speaking Monday morning in the wake of the news that Lineker had comprehensively won this challenge, Farage said it was “game set and match” to the sports star turned leftist pundit. This was a concern, Farage said, because the state broadcaster failing to uphold its own legal obligations to political neutrality in this case would open the floodgates to other breaches in future.
Farage said: “what on earth is going on? He’s going on getting his £1.3 million a year… this is not the first time that Lineker tweeted things that are way beyond personal opinion, but are directly party-political”. The Brexit leader noted that Lineker noted his reinstatement by doubling down on his original comments — in which he compared the British government’s attempts to get the English Channel migrant crisis under some sort of control to 1930s Germany — by making similar comments again.
“I think this bodes very badly for the future of the BBC”, Farage continued, noting that just this morning highly political comments were broadcast on the BBC’s morning programme without being challenged.
BBC Suspends Soccer Host over Social Media Posts Comparing Illegal Migrant Crackdown to Nazis
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 11, 2023
Discussing Mehdi Hasan — a former BBC journalist now with MSNBC — appearing on The Today Programme, Farage noted the broadcaster made serious allegations against President Trump, and called a Republican congresswoman “insane”, without an alternative viewpoint being offered. He said: “… all of this said without any counter, without any challenge, whatsoever.
“Today is the day the hard, radical left beat BBC bosses. And I predict BBC coverage and output will get worse and worse from here. This is a really bad and shameful day, the BBC has brought much of this upon themselves… [this is,] as somebody who pays the licence fee, pretty sickening.”
Lineker was suspended last week for comparing a new government policy to “that used by Germany in the 30s”, a comment that has widely been linked to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust since. At the time of his suspension, the BBC said that Lineker’s social media use had been found to be “a breach of our guidelines… [to] keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies”.
Yet in their apology this morning, the BBC said:
Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.
Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles. The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.
Accordingly, we are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs. The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review
Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place.
Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.