The BBC is planning yet another ‘hit job’ the UK Independence Party, it has been claimed this evening, with leader Nigel Farage lashing out against the publicly funded broadcaster over its long-standing bias against UKIP.
In a statement issued this Friday evening, UKIP revealed that the BBC’s Panorama documentary programme is “preparing to repeat allegations made by people hostile to UKIP, often dating back many years, in an apparent bid to try and halt UKIP’s advance”.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has reportedly written to Panorama boss Elizabeth Byrne, refusing to cooperate with the programme “because of its biased agenda and demanding that his letter is read out in full in any programme that is broadcast.”
The full letter from Farage reads:
“Dear Elizabeth, RE: Panorama Rehash of Times Campaign Against UKIP
“Thank you for your letter, the contents of which I have given careful consideration to and quite frankly are a rehash of a series of overtly hostile articles published in the Times during the run up to the May 2014 European Elections in which I hope you will note that over 4.3 million people voted for UKIP and we are now the biggest British party in the European Parliament.
“Having established that your line of questioning is in no way original or “fresh to the market”, it is apparent from the tenor of your questions and the approach being taken by you that you are adopting a specific agenda which clearly conflicts with the well accepted BBC principles that a programme for public consumption should be fair and balanced.
“Regretfully, the concept of Panorama as judge and jury on (last century and ten-year-old) allegations which have been well dealt with by me in the past does not fulfill the BBC’s charter obligations, or for that matter, its role.
“Accordingly, I can give you no further assistance and should point out to you that should you wish to proceed with this programme, I expect you to read out, without interruption, in full and without censorship, the entire contents of this letter.
“As you well know, our party is now in receipt of at least two new supporters for every ex-Conservative supporter and I wonder if it is your Labour contacts that have interested you in this project, which has previously been utilised by a panicking Conservative Party.
“A Panorama programme aimed at explaining the workings of the EU, as your Charter obliges you to do, would be far more beneficial to the British people than a tedious BBC hatchet job at the behest of your pro-EU contacts.
“Finally, if you fail to read out and place on screen this letter in any programme you choose to broadcast, this will be brought to the attention of the BBC governors and of course OFCOM.
“This letter is my final word on the matter so please do not continue the correspondence with me.”
The allegations are thought to relate to those raised by begrudged former UKIP MEP Nicki Sinclaire.
Sinclaire used EU parliamentary privilege to allege that Mr Farage had engaged in extra-marital affairs, though did not seem to have the gumption to raise the issue outside of the chamber, where she could be pursued in the courts.
Sinclaire, who is a transexual, is believed to hold a grudge against UKIP as she was passed up for promotion on a number of occasions. After this happened, she formed her own ‘We Demand a Referendum’ party, and was roundly ejected from office at the European elections in 2014.
The BBC has been one of the many media organisations which have reserved their political opprobrium almost exclusively for UKIP in recent years. The difference between the BBC and other outlets is that it is publicly funded via a ‘licence fee’ which British TV owners are forced to pay under threat of fine or imprisonment.
The BBC therefore has a charter which obliges it to be fair, balanced, and unbiased. Over recent years it has become clear that this is impossible for an organisation dominated by left-wing, activist journalists, and therefore the very notion of a licence fee is being called into question by many high profile figures.