MPs attack BBC for its biased EU reporting:
Corporation accused of falling down severely in its obligation to provide impartial coverage.
A report published last Wednesday revealed that the House Of Commons European Scrutiny Committee criticized BBC News about the manner in which the it was treating EU issues.
The Parliamentary all party group strongly published strongly worded warning that the BBC’s coverage of news concerning the European Union was not giving fair attention to the views of people in Britain who think the country should quit the EU.
The European Scrutiny Committee is a select committee of the UK Parliament, assessing and debating the legal and political importance of each EU document and reviewing procedural and institutional developments in the European Union. One paragraph read “The Committee concludes that the BBC has not yet demonstrated that it commands wide confidence in its coverage of the EU.”
The report is a follow-up to November 2013 recommendations to the BBC over its coverage of EU related proceedings in the House of Commons, as well as wider EU issues.
The Committee questioned Chairman of the BBC Trust Rona Fairhead in January, and Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, in March, about how the broadcaster was dealing with EU issues.
Hall appeared before the Committee after refusing the invitation three times, which according to the report, is deeply regrettable, as it delayed the session.
Here’s a snippet from an article published in The Spectator about a year ago, which drew attention to the increasing pro – EU bias in the BBC’s reporting of European political affairs.
Over the last three years the BBC has secretly obtained millions of pounds in grants from the European Union. Licence fee payers might assume that the Corporation would have been compelled to disclose the source of this money in its annual reports, but they bear no trace of it specifically. In the latest set of accounts, for example, these funds are simply referred to as other grant income.
Instead of making an open declaration, the BBCs successful lobbying for this money had to be prised out of it using a Freedom of Information (FoI) request lodged for The Spectator, proving that there was never any danger of the state broadcasters bosses volunteering it willingly.
The FoI response confirms that BBC staff applied for, and accepted, about £3 million of EU funds between April 2011 and November 2013, most of which has been spent on unspecified research and development projects, with the remaining £1 million spent on programming.
Next to the £3.65 billion tax-free income that the BBC receives each year via the licence fee, £3 million is, admittedly, a mere speck of dust just 0.8 per cent of its annual guaranteed revenue and, obviously, even less than that when spread over 36 months.
However, the size of these EU gifts is arguably irrelevant, even though they are indicative of the BBCs seemingly unquenchable thirst for public money. What is undeniably true is that the BBC has acted with characteristic slyness by concealing that it ever requested, let alone received, this European cash, suggesting that it is uneasy about the public being aware of its financial arrangements.
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