As concerns grow about the BBC’s impartiality regarding the European Union (EU), a new complaints website has been launched to hold the BBC’s coverage of the forthcoming referendum to account and expose anti-Brexit bias in its programming.
The BBC Complaints site lets viewers report every instance of pro-EU bias they see on the corporation’s programming in order to “put intense pressure on the BBC high command”.
The website states: “Extensive academic work has shown that the BBC is massively biased against withdrawal from the EU. It is required by law to be impartial, but is not. At the same time, its complaints procedure is not fit for purpose. It is designed only to protect the BBC. With the EU referendum now fast approaching, it is vital that pressure is applied to force it to become properly fair.”
The site includes a form where viewers can report instances of bias, listing the programme name, channel, date and the nature of the complaint.
It has been created by the group News-Watch, which is run by former BBC journalist David Keighley and is dedicated to monitoring public service broadcasting in Britain to determine whether it is balanced and impartial, as required by law.
The BBC was last month accused of pro-EU bias just one week into the referendum campaign. Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Bridgen wrote to the corporation’s Director of News, James Harding, to complain that it was not giving the ‘Leave’ side a fair hearing.
“On flagship shows such as Newsnight and [Radio 4’s breakfast show] Today, the guest selection has steered the debate,” Mr Bridgen wrote.
“Meanwhile Today continues to give greater prominence to pro-EU guests. The 6.15[am] business slot in particular has become an opportunity for a business leader to quickly claim that we must remain in the EU with little to no scrutiny behind the arguments for this.
“Eurosceptic business leaders meanwhile are impugned for wanting to leave for either reducing workers’ rights or dodging the bonus cap.”
Breitbart London also reported in October how BBC journalists were to be sent on a mandatory retraining course ahead of the referendum to teach them how to be impartial on the issue.
Speaking to MPs at the time, Mr Harding said: “We know this will be a period really of great scrutiny of our coverage, so our view is that we should reinstate mandatory training of all BBC journalists, so that they are as well-informed as possible of the issues around the workings of the institutions of the EU and its relationship to the UK.”