BBC ‘confident’ in its Brexit coverage in face of complaint from Labour peer claiming it has been 'fundamentally corrupted' - Press Gazette

BBC ‘confident’ in its Brexit coverage in face of complaint from Labour peer claiming it has been 'fundamentally corrupted'

The BBC has said it remains “confident” in its Brexit coverage after receiving a formal complaint from Labour Lord Andrew Adonis.

In a letter sent to director-general Tony Hall yesterday, Adonis urged the BBC to “revise and reissue” its editorial policy

He said the BBC’s coverage had been “fundamentally corrupted” because of its “desire to conciliate the Government and pro-Brexit campaign on the fundamental question of leaving the European Union”.

The corporation had “accepted the Government’s view that the [Brexit] decision is irreversible, when that is not in fact the case either in law or in public debate”, he said.

He claimed the BBC’s stance on Brexit was “in straightforward and serious breach” of the Royal Charter which sets out the BBC’s public purposes.

The BBC has said it is no longer reporting on “the binary choice which faced the electorate in the referendum” but is instead examining ongoing Brexit negotiations “and the impact of Brexit on the UK and the wider world”.

In a statement issued to the New Statesman and the Daily Express last week, the BBC also said: “We reject the suggestion that our coverage of Brexit is biased. We continue to feature a wide range of different voices, including those who are opposed to Brexit.”

In his letter, Adonis pointed out that Parliament has only officially authorised the Government to give notice of an intention to leave the EU.

When Brexit negotiations are complete, likely to be next year, Parliament is expected to have a say on the final deal.

“At that point, Parliament could vote to remain in the European Union or to call a referendum on the issue,” said Adonis.

“The ‘binary choice which faced the electorate in the referendum’ is therefore every bit as important now as it was during the referendum campaign. And it is a dereliction of your public duty to issue editorial guidance to the contrary.

“Your new editorial guidance is already having a clear impact on your reporting.”

A BBC spokesperson told Press Gazette: “We will respond [to Lord Adonis] in due course but we are confident that we have the right approach on our coverage.”

Lord Adonis criticised the BBC’s decision “not to report” the anti-Brexit marches held in Leeds, Edinburgh and Pontypridd on 24 March.

BBC UK news editor Richard Burgess told Radio 4’s Feedback the following week that both pro and anti- views on Brexit have been covered “significantly” across BBC output and that the Leeds march was covered both on regional news programme Look North and online.

Adonis also called attention to the “constant high-profile coverage” given to former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, such as a recent stunt in which he joined fisheries policy protesters by throwing fish into the River Thames.

They were trying to draw attention to the delay in leaving the Common Fisheries Policy as part of the UK’s Brexit transition deal, which they said would have a detrimental effect on the British fishing industry.

Burgess previously defended what he called the BBC’s “marginal” coverage of the stunt, saying it did not feature on the Six or Ten O’Clock News.

Picture: Reuters/Simon Dawson



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5 thoughts on “BBC ‘confident’ in its Brexit coverage in face of complaint from Labour peer claiming it has been 'fundamentally corrupted'”

  1. Andrew Adonis is a brainy and moderate bloke whose utterances appeal to vast amounts of normal people.

    The BBC does, in my opinion, favour Farage and his bunch of, in my opinion, extremists and weirdos like Nigel, in my opinion,. dementia sufferer Lawson.

    Remembering with clarity what it was like before the single market including being stopped on the Dutch-German motorway (A1) border by a machine-gun holding German guard for the “crime” of smuggling one whole box of 240 Tetley teabags, purchased in an English supermarket and being taken to my flat in Germany, plus the T1 and T2 customs forms and long queues at borders, I know how utterly stupid BREDIT is. Only a deranged lunatic would vote for mass national suicide.

    Like some, I’ll probably change my nationality to retain my treasured EU citizenship. Shame ‘cos I used to be proud to be English but who can truly be proud of a run-down country desperately trying to damage its own future and well-being ?

    We are not Yanks. We are Europeans and our true home is in Europe of the 500+ million persons, the largest single market in the world.

    BBC, just like the Tory government, failed to fully inform the public of the job and income losses. Amazingly BBC have never produced figure of the jobs already transferred abroad and the income already lost to the UK Exchequer – neither are returning – nor the other jobs and income they will disappear before Mass Suicide Day.

    Labour, lead by, in my opinion, a good friend of Russia appears, in my opinion, to support the Tory nutters and their buddy Faragae.

    No common sense. Bloody stupid. Britain no loner rules the waves. Britain continues to decline in world affairs. Being a major part of a truly large internation presence, the EU, is definitely the best future for this declining and increasingly corrupt country, as it slowly sinks below the waves.

    Shame not many really care about this country. Brain dead seem to have won.

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