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Heresy...

The BBC write a few words after a 6 month deliberation about Jo Brand's battery joke


Link Here2nd December 2019
The BBC have been considering complaints about Jo Brand's gag about pouring acid over Nigel Farage. Surely a sensitive issue for the BBC as they have to tread lightly around the blatant bias that it would have been universal outrage and a career ending punishment  had it been a man making the same joke about a woman.

ANyway after 6 months deliberation the BBC has announced:

Heresy, Radio 4, 11 June 2019 28 November 2019

Complaint

Reflecting on recent incidents involving the throwing of milkshakes as a form of political protest, Jo Brand said

I'm kind of thinking why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid...that's just me. I'm not going to do it, it's purely a fantasy but I think milkshakes are pathetic. I honestly do -- sorry .

20 listeners complained that the joke was offensive and/or likely to incite violence.

Outcome

In view of Ms Brand's immediate disavowal and the context of the programme's wider message in favour of more civility in political discourse, the ECU did not consider the joke likely to incite violence, but accepted that, against the background of a significant problem with acid attacks, it was capable of causing offence beyond what was editorially justified, and should not have been edited out before transmission.

Partly upheld

 

 

More acidic humour...

BBC defends Jo Brand on Have I Got News for You for her observation about the 'fucking' Queen


Link Here6th November 2019

The BBC defended Jo Brand after she used an expletive when describe the Queen during the latest episode of Have I Got News For You.

Brand was discussing the new book by Royal dresser Angela Kelly, and asked: Why does the Queen like wearing bright colours?'  The comedian answered her own question, saying:

Apparently because it helps her stand out in a crowd. That and the fact that she's the fucking Queen.

The remark sparked a few complaints on social media and so the BBC issue a formal response on its website saying:

We've received complaints from viewers who were unhappy with strong language regarding the Queen.

Our response

Jo Brand's joke was aimed at the fact that the Queen's former dresser claims in a book that the Queen wears bright colours to stand out in a crowd, but she should be instantly recognisable anyway as she's the Queen. Although we appreciate that strong language is not to everyone's tastes, we would like to assure you that this language was not directed at the Queen herself.

Have I Got News For You is a satirical entertainment show which offers a humorous take on recent News stories. Regular viewers expect the panellists and presenters to make comments about stories that are in the news and understand that these contributions are intended to be funny. Further Information

 

 

BBC on Tor...

BBC joins the dark web so that those in the dark can see the light


Link Here24th October 2019
The BBC has made its international news website available via Tor, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts.

Tor is a privacy-focused web browser used to access pages on the dark web and also to evade ISP censorship more generally.

The browser obscures who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship.

Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes.

Instead of visiting bbc.co.uk/news or bbc.com/news, users of the Tor browser can visit the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address. Clicking this web address will not work in a regular web browser.

In a statement, the BBC said:

The BBC World Service's news content is now available on the Tor network to audiences who live in countries where BBC News is being blocked or restricted. This is in line with the BBC World Service mission to provide trusted news around the world.

 

 

Extract: Thought For the Day...

Are the BBC thought police thinking too much about one religion's heritage being offensive to another?


Link Here9th October 2019

The BBC's paranoia about causing offence has reached a new high

If the Naga Munchetty fiasco wasn't cause for enough embarrassment for the BBC, an apparent attempt to censor a script referring to a Sikh Guru's martyrdom for fear it, might offend Muslims should certainly be. The Beeb's in-house thought police have driven Lord Singh to quit a radio slot he's contributed to for thirty-five years. It's a sorry state of affairs -- not just because it highlights a new high in BBC paranoia on giving imagined offence to imaginary people, but because it demonstrates how historical facts (not just opinions) are not immune to censorship. In the end, the broadcast went ahead. It did not criticise Islam and unsurprisingly received no complaints.

...Read the full article from blogs.spectator.co.uk

 

 

Updated: Widely supported but not impartial...

BBC debates finding that Breakfast presenter's personal comments about racism were 'inconsistent with the BBC's commitment to impartiality'


Link Here1st October 2019

Finding by the Executive Complaints Unit

 

Breakfast, BBC One
17 July 2019:

 

Complaint

The programme was broadcast on the morning after the US House of Representatives had condemned President Trump's tweeted comments on four Democrat Congresswomen, in which he wrote Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came, as racist. Following an interview with a London-based Trump supporter who denied that the comments were racist, Dan Walker initiated an exchange with his co-presenter Naga Munchetty. A viewer complained that this had led to the expression of personal opinions which were inconsistent with the BBC's commitment to impartiality.

Outcome

In the view of the Executive Complaints Unit it was entirely legitimate for Ms Munchetty, when pressed by Mr Walker for a personal response, to reply in terms which reflected her own experience of racism and the racist context in which suggestions that people from ethnic minorities should go back to their own countries are generally made. However, she went on to comment critically on the possible motive for, and potential consequences of, the President's words. Judgements of that kind are for the audience to make, and the exchange fell short of due impartiality in that respect.

Partly upheld.

The BBC has released more detail on the above decision to uphold a complaint against news presenter Naga Munchetty.

The BBC Breakfast host was found to have breached guidelines by criticising Donald Trump's motives after he said four female politicians should go back to places from which they came. The corporation said its editorial guidelines do not allow for journalists to... give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so - in this case President Trump.

The complained about conversation went

Dan Walker: That was the most telling quote for me last night. I  can't remember who said it but she said I've been told to go home many times to go back to where I've come from in my life but never by the man sitting in the Oval office.

Naga Munchetty: Every time I  have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I  came from, that was embedded in racism. Now I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.

Walker: You're sitting here not giving an opinion, but how do you feel as someone when you've been told that before, and when you hear that from him?

Munchetty: Furious. Absolutely furious. And I  imagine a lot of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it's okay to skirt the lines with using language like that.

Munchetty has received messages of support. On Thursday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the decision as astonishing.

Update: Decision reversed

1st October 2019. See article from bbc.com

BBC director general Tony Hall has reversed a decision to partially uphold a complaint against Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty.

He told staff that Munchetty's words were not sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint against her.

She had been found to have breached the BBC's guidelines over comments she made about a tweet from Donald Trump about four female politicians of colour.

Hall said he personally reviewed the decision of the complaints unit.

 

 

Not addressing the hanging question of what if the genders were switched?...

The BBC decides that Jo Brand's joke about throwing battery acid at Nigel Farage went beyond what was appropriate but was not inciting violence


Link Here 29th August 2019

The BBC has been investigating Jo Brand's controversial gag about throwing battery acid over Nigel Farage.

Appearing on Radio 4's Heresy show last June, comedian Jo Brand joked:

Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they're very, very easy to hate.

And I'm kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?

That's just me, sorry, I'm not gonna do it, it's purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.

Presumably she was referring to Nigel Farage being hit with a milkshake whist campaigning before the European elections.

Now the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit [ECU] has judged that the joke went beyond what was appropriate for a Radio 4 comedy show, but it dismissed complaints that her remark amounted to incitement. A summary of the findings reads:

Whilst the ECU recognised that the wider message from this episode is an argument for more civility in political discourse, not less, and Ms Brand's contribution is not intended to be taken as face value, the ECU felt that it went beyond what was appropriate for the show.

The ECU also noted that in the right context and with the right treatment, there is no subject matter which should be beyond the scope of comedy.

 

 

Updated: Corrosive PC...

Interesting BBC developments as it reconsiders its position after originally laughing off Jo Brand joking that Nigel Farage was more deserving of battery acid than milkshake


Link Here30th June 2019
Speaking on Radio 4's Heresy show last night, comedian Jo Brand joked:

 Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they're very, very easy to hate.

And I'm kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?

That's just me, sorry, I'm not gonna do it, it's purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.

Presumably she was referring to Nigel Farage being hit with a milkshake whist campaigning before the European elections.

The gag was met with howls of laughter from the studio audience and show host Victoria Coren Mitchell didn't appear concerned by the remarks.

The gag has caused a bit of a flurry of complaints eliciting an initial response from the BBC.

The Sun reported that the BBC refused to apologise for the broadcast and said remarks on the comedy show were not intended to be taken seriously.  A spokeswoman said:

Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously.

But this of course highlights rather obvious injustice in the kangaroo court system whose jurisdiction is political correctness. Had a male comedian joked about similarly about a female politician, then that comedian would have been marched off the premises, and the police would have been waiting on his doorstep when he arrived home. And I guess a similar thought would go through the mind of anyone reading about the BBC response to the joke.

But perhaps the BBC has realised that it has been to blatant in its biased version of PC justice and has taken the unusual action of asking interested viewers to be informed of the official response to the complaints by email rather than the BBFC publishing its response on its website.

Meanwhile Nigel Farage has responded saying: T his is incitement of violence and the police need to act.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had received 19 complaints from angry listeners since the show was broadcast.

Perhaps it is about time that the politically correct police and media realised that it is simply unjust to tacitly support the milkshaking of politicians who are considered politically incorrect. It is demonstrating the human failing that anyone granted power over others, may and will use that power to abuse those less favoured. An observation that applies equally to all genders, sexualities, religions and races.

Update: Theresa May weighs in

14th June 2019. See article from bbc.com and article from bbc.co.uk

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the BBC should explain why a Jo Brand joke about throwing battery acid was appropriate content for broadcast. The prime minister's spokesman said

Mrs May has been clear politicians should be able to go about their work and campaign without harassment, intimidation or abuse.

The BBC has removed a Jo Brand joke from its iPlayer catch-up service after it was suggested that it condoned violence.

Update: Inequality at the BBC

15th June 2019. See article from telegraph.co.uk See also article from bbc.co.uk

Jo Brand will be back on Radio 4 next week, as police confirmed they will take no further action over her comments.

The Telegraph understands that internally, the BBC are resolutely supporting Brand, with one insider saying:

Jo Brand is a much loved comedian and part of the Radio 4 family -- she will continue to be so, and will continue to appear on our programmes.

The full BBC response which was belatedly published on its website reads:

Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously. We carefully considered the programme before broadcast. It was never intended to encourage or condone violence, and it does not do so, but we have noted the strong reaction to it. Comedy will always push boundaries and will continue to do so, but on this occasion we have decided to edit the programme. We regret any offence we have caused.

It is good that the BBC is standing up against political correctness censorship but it seems unlikely that the BBC would be so supportive of a male comedian. In fact this case could set an interesting precedent as very few other complaints get quite so close to actually  inciting violence as Jo Brand's comment. So surely any future sacking for a PC joke will always be compared with this deciion.

Meanwhile Ofcom said they had received 287 complaints about the comments. Ofcom allows complaints about BBC programmes to be assessed by the BBC first, so it will take some time, if ever, before Ofcom considers the case.

Update: Final complaints tally

30th June 2019. See article [pdf] from downloads.bbc.co.uk

The BBC issues a fortnightly report on complaints received. The latest issue reveals that the BBC received 2971 complaints about Heresy. The BBC summarised that the complainants: Felt Jo Brand's humour was offensive or could incite violence

 

 

Uncovering Pakistan's secret human rights abuses...

Pakistan officially complains about a news article on the BBC website.


Link Here19th June 2019
Pakistan has officially objected to a news article appearing on the BBC news website. Pakistan claimed that the report, Uncovering Pakistan's secret human rights abuses, was defamatory, called for the article to be taken down, and also demand an apology from the BBC. The news report is available in English and Urdu.

The official letter has been written by the Director General External Publicity Samina Waqar to the Ofcom, UK, and the BBC, against the report. The letter claimed the story not only presented a fabricated theme, but also violated journalistic ethos. The letter goes on:

The story also violates BBC's editorial policy by not incorporating the point of view of all stakeholders/citing credible sources/quoting authentic evidence etc,, adding that it amounted to indicting the state of Pakistan for so-called 'secret human rights abuses' without any cogent evidence.

We demand that the BBC remove this defamatory and malicious story and issue a clear-cut apology. We also expect the BBC to ensure that in the future such fake stories specifically targeting Pakistan will not be disseminated.

The complaint explains that the Pakistan government expects the BBC to abide by its editorial policy and journalists' ethos in the future, asking that Ofcom look into the content of the mala-fide, incorrect and misleading story and take measures as per the BBC's editorial guidelines 1.2.11 -- (Accountability: We will be open in acknowledging mistakes when they are made and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them.)

Pakistan has warned that the government has the right to pursue all legal options in Pakistan or the UK if BBC authorities fail to retract the libellous and defamatory story and take action against its writer, with the letter saying the content of this story reflects bias, spin and the angling of facts, and that there are judgemental expressions that are a clear violation of journalistic norms of impartiality and objectivity.

 

 

Offsite Article: The use of the word 'terror' is banned by BBC News...


Link Here 10th June 2019
For an organisation that claims to be unbiased, it does like to unconvincingly pretend that terror is unconnected with a 'protected' institution whilst it shouts loud and proud about the rest

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 

Updated: Have I Got News for You...

In an age of quick resource to political censorship, all sides think that it is being unfairly targeted


Link Here17th May 2019
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.

Update: The BBC explains its case for censorship

17th May 2019. See article from bbc.co.uk

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.

BBC Response

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 later date.

 

 

The destruction of Danny Baker...

Sacked for a poor taste joke on Twitter


Link Here11th May 2019
Full story: Twitter Twits...Police overreact to trivial insults via Twitter and Facebook
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.

BBC Response

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

10th May 2019. See article from spiked-online.com By Brendan O'Neill

 

 

Taking the P...

BBC bans a rap song referencing pimps and prostitution


Link Here3rd May 2019
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.

The song will not be played on any future shows.

 

 

The BBC's PC dilemma...

How to respect and tolerate religious people with disrespectful and intolerant views


Link Here4th April 2019
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.

 

 

Updated: Right wronged...

Facebook censors Tommy Robinson's page


Link Here27th February 2019
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
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.

Update: BBC receive complaints about Panorma

27th February 2019.  See  article from bbc.co.uk

Complaint

We received complaints following the third party release of secretly recorded material related to a BBC Panorama investigation.

BBC Response

 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

27th February 2019. See  article from spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill

Facebook and Instagram's ban confirms that corporate censorship is out of control.

 

 

Devoted to comedy...

Russell Howard reveals that the BBC forced him to rework a joke lest it offend ISIS


Link Here1st February 2019
Nervous BBC chiefs once forced Russell Howard to rewrite a joke -- in case it offended ISIS.

Speaking on his Sky One show The Russell Howard Hour , the stand-up said: A while back I worked for the BBC and I did a piece about the Paris attacks when I said Isis weren't Muslims, they were terrorists -- and the crowd cheered.

And then, at the end of the show, the BBC lost their mind, [saying] "You need to re-record it! You need to say Isis aren't *devout* Muslims."

I was like, "Are you worried we are going to offend Isis?" Are they going to write in?"

When the routine was broadcast on his former BBC show, Russell Howard's Good News , the words devout Muslims were used, in keeping with the executives' wishes.

Update: Even woke comics aren't safe

PC is bad for comedy of all political persuasions.

See  article from spiked-online.com by Tom Slater


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