June 8, 2023 1:38 am
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BBC Is Biased “On Occasion”, Admits UK Culture Secretary

Authored by Evgenia Filimianova via The Epoch Times,

The UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has told a group of MPs that the BBC is biased on occasion, but refused to give any specific examples.

In her first appearance before the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee since she took up the post in February, Frazer said that she was a supporter of the BBC and the content it produces.

“But it does need to understand its duties in relation to partiality,” she told the committee.

The BBC, headed by Director General Tim Davie, is currently undergoing a review of the company’s compliance with editorial standards and effectiveness in representing audiences from working class backgrounds.

“I think that it is really important that the BBC takes its responsibility in terms of editorial standards and impartiality very seriously… I think Tim Davie takes that responsibility very seriously and I think we should ensure that the BBC, as a public service broadcaster which is meant to be there to provide impartial news to the public, fulfils that duty, and I think unfortunately it doesn’t always get that right,” Frazer said.

Media monitoring group News-Watch has called the BBC “unfit for purpose,” reporting (pdf) that out of 1.7 million complaints between 2017 and 2022, the broadcaster upheld only 126. In its survey submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport in April, News-Watch argued that the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit was biased against complainants’ points of view.

“I’m not going to give any specific examples of the examples of bias, but I think there are often complaints about the BBC, some of which have been taken up by Ofcom, which have been shown to be biased,” Frazer told the committee.

The culture secretary said that her department was looking into issues of future sustainability of the broadcaster.

Pedestrians walk past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House in London, Jan. 29, 2020. (Reuters/Henry Nicholls/File Photo)

Funding and Controversy

Asked about alternative ways of funding the BBC, apart from license fee payments by UK households, Frazer said: “The license fee isn’t the only way to fund it. One issue that faces the BBC is the number of households with TV license has fallen by 1.2 million since 2017 to 2020. There is an issue with how much the license fee can raise and does raise.”

In response to a question on defunding the BBC, Frazer said she was “definitely a supporter of the BBC” and her department would look into the ways the broadcaster is funded “very carefully.”

The committee asked several questions about the ex-BBC Chairman Richard Sharp, a former banker with Goldman Sachs, who helped former Prime Minister Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan facility.

“People outside this country look at this and they really think it’s shoddy, the idea that you can give hundreds of thousands of pounds to a political party and can end up getting a plumb public service job, even if, as in the case of Mr. Sharp, you have no experience whatsoever of broadcasting,” the SNP’s John Nicholson told Frazer.

Frazer said he met Sharp in person after his resignation and spoke to him about the direction of the BBC and called him “knowledgeable.” The secretary added that she would like “the broadest possible field” of candidates for the role of BBC chairman.

Since Sharp’s resignation, the Commissioner of Public Appointments has launched an inquiry (pdf) into the appointment process for the chair of the BBC Board, to be led by Adam Heppinstall, KC.

Frazer told the committee that she has “lots of views,” when questioned about the controversy caused by a Twitter post by BBC presenter Gary Lineker. However, she didn’t give any details, adding she would wait for the BBC’s report on the matter.

Lineker was temporarily taken off air earlier this year after saying the language used by the government to promote its asylum plans was not dissimilar to that used in 1930s Germany.


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