Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeClimate WatchDavid Keighley: How the BBC arrogantly censors free speech on climate change

David Keighley: How the BBC arrogantly censors free speech on climate change


To The Guardian and presumably its diminishing band of readers, the issue of climate change alarmism is settled. We are all going to fry and they know it beyond doubt. They all have an army of correspondents who tell us so.

Although I disagree strongly, I also accept that as a newspaper, The Guardian is entitled to its views. That’s the reality of a free press: a newspaper can choose its own editorial policy, no matter how biased or against the odds.

Not so the BBC. It’s governed by a Royal Charter which dictates that on matters of public controversy, it must be even handed and balanced in its coverage of events. But any pretence of this has gradually been abandoned by the liberal elite that now run it – as the latest ruling by the Corporation’s head of complaints, Fraser Steel has vividly and chillingly shown.

The Corporation is now acting like its own version of Big Brother, dictating what we should think about key issues of national and international debate. And guess what? Its army of publicly-funded staff are uncompromisingly pursuing a leftist agenda.

Back in February, Lord Lawson – who became so concerned about climate change alarmism that he has set up the Global Warming Policy Foundation  – appeared on the Today programme to react to the appallingly cack-handed official response to the Somerset floods.

Many believed they had been greatly made worse by the Environment Agency’s green and alarmist approach to flood management, and Lord Lawson said so. That in itself was a miracle – for once, the Today programme allowed an opponent of its worldview to put a different perspective.

On the programme with him was Sir Brian Hoskins, a well known alarmist, who is so fervent in his views about the topic that he believes that billions of pounds must be spent on combating the environmental dragons he sees in every temperature change.

He is also hugely active in pursuing his cause, a one man-band of propaganda who has massive resources behind him, regular unchallenged access to BBC microphones, and the ear of government.

After the programme, one Chit Chong, a member of the Green party, wrote to the BBC and complained that allowing both men to put their views was totally unfair, because a consensus of scientists believed that Lord Lawson was wrong and Sir Brian was ‘right’.

He argued that the BBC had given too much airtime to Lord Lawson’s views. The greenie warrior stated that the Corporation had, in effect, legitimised the illegitimate.

Enter Fraser Steel, the BBC’s complaints chief. And in jaw-dropping, nakedly Orwellian fashion, he has now ruled that Chit Chong was right.  According to a leaked report of his findings in – surprise, surprise, The Guardian – Mr Steel has said that Lord Lawson’s views on climate change alarmism ‘are not supported by computer modelling and scientific research’ He reportedly concludes:

“I don’t believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience… it is important to ensure that such views are put into the appropriate context and given due (rather than equal) weight.”

If this is true, let’s not mince words. What this means is that because the BBC has decreed that climate change alarmism is proved by ‘consensus’, Lord Lawson, and those who doubt the BBC’s alarmism, should not ever be given equal airtime to put their case, if at all.

And it also raises the ludicrous prospect that before any such broadcast involving an opponent of alarmism, there should be editorial comment that such views are not supported by consensus. So in future, this, in effect, is what must happen (if Lord Lawson is ever asked to appear again):

John Humphrys: “With me now is Lord Lawson. I have to tell you first that the BBC has decided that the point of view he is expressing is not backed by scientific facts because a consensus of scientists tell us that this is the case. Now Lord Lawson, what do you think about this matter?”

I have worked as a journalist in different ways for almost 40 years and I have never heard anything so chillingly against the concept of free speech. I don’t know anything about Fraser Steel or his background because the BBC website says nothing about him other than that he is head of the complaints unit.

But what we now have is an army of BBC bureaucrats armed with stop-watches and their own brand of prejudice measuring every damn piece of BBC broadcasting to see if it measures up to the Corporation’s Own Version of The Truth.

This post is also published on

If you appreciated this article, perhaps you might consider making a donation to The Conservative Woman. Unlike most other websites, we receive no independent funding. Our editors are unpaid and work entirely voluntarily as do the majority of our contributors but there are inevitable costs associated with running a website. We depend on our readers to help us, either with regular or one-off payments. You can donate here. Thank you.
If you have not already signed up to a daily email alert of new articles please do so. It is here and free! Thank you.

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

Sign up for TCW Daily

Each morning we send The ConWom Daily with links to our latest news. This is a free service and we will never share your details.