MPs attack BBC for its ‘biased EU reporting’: Corporation accused of ‘falling down severely’ in its obligation to provide impartial coverage
BBC has ‘concerning’ pro-EU bias, the European Scrutiny Committee said
Sir Bill Cash argued flagship shows don’t give Eurosceptics [such as himself] enough airtime
MPs also criticised Lord Hall for failing in his role as BBC’s editor-in chief
By KATHERINE RUSHTON, MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY EDITOR
25 March 2015
The BBC has a ‘deeply concerning’ pro-European bias and has ‘fallen down severely’ in its obligation to provide impartial coverage of the issue, MPs say today.
The European Scrutiny Committee says the corporation does not give enough airtime to those who believe Britain should leave the European Union or that there should be a referendum on membership.
The MPs also criticised the BBC’s director-general, Lord Hall, for failing in his role as the corporation’s editor-in-chief, after he turned down an invitation to give evidence to the committee in Parliament four times.
Lord Hall, who earns [?] £450,000 a year [!] of licence fee payers’ money, eventually relented after the committee told him to treat its invitation as a ‘formal summons’.
Sir Bill Cash, the Eurosceptic who chairs the committee, said: ‘The BBC has fallen down severely on its obligations to viewers and listeners to give them a proper and balanced assessment of both sides of the argument.
‘This is an issue that affects everybody’s lives. Who can say that the European question is not important?’
The Conservative MP argued that many of the BBC’s flagship shows, including Radio’s 4’s Today programme, are stuffed with commentators who talk about the economic and political dangers of Britain leaving the EU.
But, he argued, they have far too few people on its shows to explain what the benefits might be.
Sir Bill said: ‘There is a line of questioning which is quite clearly geared to elicit the answers, “I don’t want a referendum”, or “I don’t want Britain to leave the European Union.”
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The BBC should be much more open about the funding it receives from EU institutions. The TV licence should be retained and the BBC should progressively scale down its operations until it achieves financial stability. In short, the corporation must learn to live within its means. It might begin by reviewing the absurdly inflated salaries of its senior executives.