A range of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television departments, programmes, and radio stations are currently offering highly desirable, paid internships, but white people are prohibited from applying.
Creative Access – an organisation, registered as a charity, which offers placements at “many of the UK’s top media organisations” – has listed a number of BBC placements on its website, demanding applicants are only from “Black, Asian and non-white minority ethnic backgrounds”.
The website’s list of opportunities shows that all but four of the positions currently available are for jobs at the publicly-funded BBC, and Creative Access is funded by the British tax payer despite its charity status.
The BBC positions are for a period of a year, and come with a bursary of £19,480 for London placements, and £16,881 for placements outside of London. While the BBC will pay half the salary, Creative Access pays the other half.
The website lists its main sources of funding, naming the quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation ‘UK Commission for Employment & Skills’ and the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
The other organisation named alongside the government departments is Creative Skillset, which has received millions of pounds of “investment” from the Scottish Parliament.
Creative Access founder and boss Michael Foster stood for election last year as a Parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, while one of the organisation’s board members is Baroness McDonagh, the former General Secretary of the Labour Party.
Amongst Creative Access’ advisory board is Lord Finkelstein – one of the longest standing advocates of the Conservative Party’s “modernisation” – and former executive editor at The Times newspaper.
Giving evidence to the British Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports committee, Creative Access said the 2011 riots were the “tipping point” for the organisation’s creation, as “watching hours of white middle class commentators failing to explain the confusion and chaos on our streets offered little insight to the viewer; and embarrassment to the media industry.”
Creative Access’ implication that non-white minorities have a better understanding of the riots – which generated looting, arson, the mass deployment of police, and resulted in the deaths of five people – would normally be described as inherently “racist”.
They said the creative industries should reflect the fact that 40 per cent of London’s population is non-white. But the BBC does not just serve London, nor does the wider media industry. The wider country’s non-white population is more like 15 per cent.
The organisation states its target is for 80 per cent of their placements to secure long-term jobs in the media, “and in turn to bring others from under-represented communities in alongside them.”
The latter goal looks to be advocating for the scheme’s successful graduates, once in secure roles, to practice affirmative action – which is illegal in the UK.
Aside from Northern Ireland – where the Peace Process requires the police force to hire 50 per cent of its staff from the country’s Catholic community and 50 per cent from its Protestant community, and an exemption for political party shortlists – any discrimination, quotas or favouritism due to sex, race and ethnicity among other “protected characteristics” is illegal under the 2010 Equality Act. Creative Access states that it is a “strategic initiative which complies with its obligations under the Equality Act 2010.”
A quote from one of the scheme’s graduates reveals the fact that there are no similar opportunities to which white people can apply. In a video appearing on Creative Access’ website Shoaib Rokadiya says, “Had I not got this internship I think I’d be trying to slug it out within a very competitive and sort of undernourished and underpaid journalism industry.”
Rokadiya does not make it clear why non-whites should not have to “slug it out”.