The Change UK partly leader Heidi Allen has accused the BBC of inconsistency after the broadcaster pulled an episode of Have I Got News For You at the last minute claiming that it would breach election guidelines.
The Change UK leader was due to appear in a pre-recorded episode of the popular quiz show on Friday night, only to be notified an hour beforehand that it would not be broadcast.
The BBC said it was inappropriate to feature political party leaders on the programme ahead of the European parliament elections on 23 May to ensure equal representation of views.
Allen questioned why former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was allowed to appear on the programme ahead of similar elections in 2014 and said her party was not getting a fair crack of the whip. Change UK has now written to the BBC director general Tony
Hall about the decision.
Of course she did not mention the even more flagrant pre-election censorship where by candidates Carl Benjamin and Tommy Robinson have been totally banned from social media, the major communication platforms of the modern age.
Have I Got News for You,
BBC One, 10 May 2019 BBC Logo
We received complaints from people unhappy with the decision to drop the billed episode. Some people felt this was biased in favour of Brexit.
The BBC has specific editorial guidelines that apply during election periods which mean it would be inappropriate to feature a single party leader on a weekly programme such as Have I Got News for You during the short time available if other
parties are not also represented on the programme during the same period. When the fact of Heidi Allen's appearance on the show was brought to our attention, we took the decision to withdraw the show. We can assure you this would have been the
case whichever party was involved.
A number of our viewers have referred to 2014, when Nigel Farage also appeared on the programme in the period before the European Parliamentary elections. Those episodes of Have I Got News for You were planned in the run-up to the election to
ensure an appropriate range of guests from different political parties were represented. In the circumstances of this year's election, a similar approach was not practical. We refute any suggestions that the BBC has favoured Mr Farage.
In contrast, Question Time is a political debate programme and, in accordance with the guidelines, will feature representatives from a range of political parties throughout the election period. The 9 May edition, for example, featured Anna Soubry
MP (Change UK), Amber Rudd MP (Conservatives), Jonathan Reynolds MP (Labour), and Nigel Farage MEP (Brexit Party). Other parties will have appeared on different editions of Question Time during the course of the election period. Similarly, the
Andrew Marr Show ensures that over the course of the campaign, an appropriate range of party representatives appear on the programme.
Senior editorial staff within BBC News keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained. We consider that the BBC continues to report Brexit impartially and features a wide range of different perspectives
across our news coverage.
The team are sorry for the disappointment to viewers that this episode featuring Ms Allen was pulled at short notice. Have I Got News for You will return to our screens this week, and we will look to broadcast the episode featuring Ms Allen at a
On Thursday, Danny Baker was sacked by BBC bosses for a tweet of a couple with a monkey tagged Royal baby leaves hospital.
The picture sparked 'outrage', with a few people branding it as racist because of Meghan's heritage. Baker quickly deleted it and described it as a stupid unthinking gag.
Scotland Yard said the force had received an allegation in relation to a tweet posted on May 8.
An allegation has been received by the Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday May 9 in relation to a tweet published on May 8.
As is routine, the allegation will be reviewed and assessed by specialist officers, the Met said.
Meanwhile the BBC wrote in response to a complaint:
Danny Baker, Radio 5 live, May 2019
We received complaints from some people unhappy with the image Danny Baker posted on his social media account , and also complaints from some who are unhappy that he will no longer be presenting on Radio 5 live.
Danny Baker's tweet was a serious error of judgment and goes against the BBC's values we aim to embody.
Danny is a brilliant broadcaster , however he will no longer be presenting a weekly show with us on Radio 5 live.
Offsite Comment: His tweet was dumb, but the reaction to it is chilling
The BBC says a rap song broadcast on Asian Network and Radio 1 did not meet its editorial standards and will not be played again.
The track, Chaabian Boyz by Frenzo Harami, has been accused of glamorising sexual exploitation, for lyrics which refer to profiting from a prostitution ring. Harami rapped:
I got 20 white girls... laying on their backs for P [money]
The song received limited plays on late-night shows hosted by Kan D Man and Bobby Friction, who described it as proper grimy, grimy, grimy. Although it was edited to remove swearing, the rest of the lyrical content apparently went unchecked.
In a statement, the BBC said:
A version of the track which did not meet our editorial standards was played on Asian Network produced shows, in error.
BBC News staff have been told not to tweet personal views after an LGBT debate on Question Time. The BBC has emailed all news staff warning they could face internal sanctions if they express strong political views on Twitter.
BBC Breakfast presenter Ben Thompson was among the staff at the broadcaster who publicly criticised Question Time last week for allowing an audience member to ask the question: Is it morally right that five-year-old children learn about LGBTQ+
issues in school? The question referenced muslim protests at Birmingham and Manchester aschools where young children are being taught about diversity and family life.
Many LGBT members of staff at the BBC have privately told the Guardian of anger within the newsroom at how the BBC has allowed to turn the issue into a valid debate.
The BBC's director of news, Fran Unsworth, told staff :
We all have personal views, but it is part of our role with the BBC to keep those views private, she said in an email to staff. Our editorial guidelines say BBC staff must not advocate any particular position on a matter of public policy,
political or industrial controversy, or any other 'controversial subject'. That applies to all comments in the public domain, including on social media. There is no real distinction between personal and official social media accounts.
We are living in a period of highly polarised opinions on a range of subjects and the BBC frequently faces criticism for the way we report and analyse events, with our impartiality called into question.
Many of these criticisms are unfounded and we are prepared to defend ourselves robustly where necessary. We also need to make sure our own house is in order.
Tommy Robinsonm has been permanently banned from Facebook and sister website Instagram. In a blogpost, Facebook said:
When ideas and opinions cross the line and amount to hate speech that may create an environment of intimidation and exclusion for certain groups in society -- in some cases with potentially dangerous offline implications -- we take action. Tommy
Robinson's Facebook page has repeatedly broken these standards, posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims. He has also behaved in ways that violate our policies around organized hate.
Robinson is already banned from Twitter and the decision to cut him off from Instagram and Facebook will leave him reliant on YouTube as the only major online platform to provide him with a presence.
The ban comes a month after Facebook issued a final written warning against Robinson, warning him that he would be removed from its platform permanently if he continued to break the company's hate speech policies.
Mainstream outlets have struggled to deal with Robinson. When he was interviewed by Sky News last year, Robinson responded b uploading an unedited video of the discussion showing that Sky News did in fact mislead viewers by mixing and matching
questions to answers to make Robinson look bad. The video became an online success and was shared far more widely online than the original interview.
Robinson adopted a similar tactic with the BBC's Panorama, which is investigating the far-right activist. Two weeks ago, Robinson agreed to be interviewed by the programme, only to turn the tables on reporter John Sweeney by revealing he had sent
an associate undercover to film the BBC reporter.
Several other accounts were removed from Facebook on Tuesday, including one belonging to former Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam.
We received complaints following the third party release of secretly recorded material related to a BBC Panorama investigation.
BBC Panorama is investigating Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. The BBC strongly rejects any suggestion that our journalism is faked or biased. Any programme we broadcast will adhere to the BBC's strict editorial
guidelines. BBC Panorama's investigation will continue.
John Sweeney made some offensive and inappropriate remarks whilst being secretly recorded, for which he apologises. The BBC has a strict expenses policy and the drinks bill in this video was paid for in full by John.
Offsite Comment: Why Tommy Robinson should not be banned