Paxman EU-Critical Article Pulled From Radio Times After BBC Pressure


An article on the European Union (EU) for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)-founded weekly magazine the Radio Times by former Newsnight front-man and prominent British journalist Jeremy Paxman, has been pulled from publication ahead of the forthcoming referendum.

The claims about the apparently censorious attitude of the BBC whose “concerns” prompted Mr. Paxman to pull the plug on the article appear in the Mail on Sunday. The Radio Times piece was to be a tie-in with Mr. Paxman’s forthcoming television programme for the BBC, “an impartial look at the fundamentals of what actually goes on between the UK and the EU”.

Yet because in the Radio Times article Mr. Paxman reportedly expressed doubts about the EU, BBC television bosses believed its publication could impact on the perception of impartiality for the corporation. After threatened, yet unspecified, “changes” by the corporation, the article was withdrawn.

It is claimed Mr. Paxman stopped short of calling for Britain to leave the EU, but was critical of the power bloc and the erosion of British sovereignty. He is also reportedly unhappy with planned changes to his EU-focussed works that were to be forced by a “senior BBC executive”.

From the time of its founding as a listings magazine for radio programmes in 1923, until 2011 when it was spun off to an independent publishing house, the BBC could control the content of one of the nation’s most read magazines. Now the corporation could not block the publication of Mr. Paxman’s article, but appeared to threaten his forthcoming show instead to apply pressure.

The company which owns the Radio Times, Immediate Media, is one of Britain’s biggest magazine publishers. It has today been reported to be on sale at a rumoured £300 million.

Veteran broadcaster Jeremy Paxman departed Newsnight, Britain’s best known political talk show, in 2014 after 25 years as chair and wasted no time in trashing his former colleagues at the BBC. He declared himself a “one-nation-Tory” and dismissing the Newsnight producers as “13-year-olds” who wanted to “change the world”.

Making comments that stated political decision making should be concentrated locally, not in massive organisations like the EU, Mr. Paxman said in 2014: “I have to be frank, I suppose I am a one-nation Tory, yes.

“Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds. It’s perfectly normal when you’re young that you want to change the world.

“The older you get, the more you realise what a fools’ errand much of that is and that the thing to do is to manage the best you can to the advantage of as many people as possible.

“The closer you can take decision-making to the people affected by those decisions, the better.”

Specifically on the EU, he said that he was “in favour of governments getting out of people’s lives – particularly foreign government”, and remarked that Europe had been “nothing but trouble for us”.

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