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A vital step towards ending BBC bias


WHAT are the chances of stopping BBC bias? Hopefully that prospect is today a good deal nearer.

Making the BBC impartial is the goal of the campaign that’s been running on TCW for the past month, as documented here, here, here and here.

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of hundreds of folk out there – many of them TCW readers – this crowdfunding appeal has so far raised more than £57,000 to help fund a judicial review. That’s almost double the original target of £30,000.

The process of holding the Corporation to account moved a vital step closer yesterday with the submission to the High Court of our application for the review, made possible through this crowdfunding appeal.

The core of the challenge is that the BBC is not taking seriously its Charter public service obligations. This is evidenced by its reliance on opinion polls to verify the integrity of its journalism rather than robust, transparent internal monitoring and an independent complaints procedure.

The papers will be served on the BBC next week, and a formal hearing of the application will take place as soon as court schedules allow, hopefully during the autumn.

The case for the judicial review submitted to the court is, of legal necessity, a magnum opus, running to hundreds of pages. At its core is a ‘statement of facts’ from the QC in the case, explaining the legal grounds for why the Corporation is in breach of its statutory duties.

It is not yet possible to make this very important document public, although it should be soon. In summary, it demonstrates powerfully that on this matter of burning public interest the Corporation is both complacent and unjustifiably obstructive.

The submitted ‘case’ is accompanied by a witness statement and bundle from News-watch which illustrates the extent of BBC bias and omission in coverage primarily of the EU, and shows how the BBC has refused over 20 years, with a brick-wall obstinacy, to consider properly the clear evidence of its bias against the withdrawal case and in favour of the EU,that has been presented to it. This will also be made public as soon as possible.

The timetable is now in the hands of the High Court. It is very much hoped that the judge who considers the application will order a hearing as soon as possible, but we are told it is unlikely that court time will be available before October.

Support on CrowdJustice page from donors has been highly appreciative of the need for our effort:

‘I fully support your campaign to apply for a judicial review of overt and blatant bias in the Corporation’s output. I trust you will be able to produce sound legal arguments.’

‘Ensuring that the BBC is accountable for the inherent bias in its programming is one of the most fundamental aspects of a proper functioning democracy.’

‘Once upon a time, it was a great institution, respected by the nation, and around the world, and one of the pillars of our democracy, but in recent years its employees have acquired a uniform set of beliefs, and increasingly abuse the trust placed in them to proselytise.’

The crowdfunding social media campaign in connection with the review saw a massive spike in not only follower numbers on Twitter, but well over 2million views across the platform. There could not be a better indication of the widespread and huge dissatisfaction with the Corporation.

You can donate to the campaign here.

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David Keighley
David Keighley
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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