Ex-BBC staff fume at Brexit-bashing ‘damaging impartiality’ –Leavers treated with contempt

BBC News viewers criticise Arthur Labinjo-Hughes coverage

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The broadcaster was accused of failing in its central duty to remain unbiased when reporting on the most important political decision in decades according to the corporation’s former Head of Television News. Roger Mosey, who worked at the BBC from 1980 until 2013, gave a stinging assessment to a House of Lords committee while giving evidence on impartiality and editorial standards.

He said of the corporation: “I think there is sometimes a lack of understanding of conservative groups, of faith groups, of older people, which you have to make sure – if you really want impartiality – you understand why they think what they do.

“It doesn’t mean you agree with them but represent them fairly.”

He added: “I thought after the Brexit debate that Brexit voters were all portrayed as angry people in fish and chip shops in Clapton.

“That wasn’t really the right picture.

“I think that can damage impartiality as much as what looks like an unfair report.”

Mr Mosey left the BBC in 2013 after accusing it of bias.

He quit saying it was too-leftwing and had failed to “give enough space to anti-immigration views or to EU-withdrawals”.

Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s Director of Global News between 2004 and 2010, blamed the broadcaster for trying to show “emotion” in its reports.

He said attempts to be creative had led to a failure to avoid bias.

The former employee said: “I think there are all sorts of risks to impartiality when you go down that line.

“I do detect a slightly more sober tone returning to some of the BBC’s reporting, which I encourage. I do think it is quite important to have a more straightforward, factual, evidence-based approach to reporting.

“Of which, there can then be discussion and debate and so on as well.

“But if you like, it’s the broadcasting equivalent of separating news and opinion or debate.

“These have been merged together in some programmes in some ways and I think there needs to be a move to separate these more fully.”

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Director-general Tim Davie, who took up his position just over a year ago, has publicly vowed to do more to ensure the BBC retains the trust of the British public.

He accused the corporation of failing to reflect the views of the whole of Britain in the past and said he was on a mission to become more representative.

Addressing staff shortly after taking up his role in September 2020, he said: “We urgently need to champion and recommit to impartiality.

“It is deliverable and it is essential. If you work here, nothing should be more exciting than exploring different views, seeking evidence with curiosity and creatively presenting testimony.

“Making use of our own experiences but not driven by our personal agendas.

“I wonder if some people worry that impartiality could be a little dull.

“I would just turn to our finest work: it is exhilarating, passionate and ground-breaking.

“To be clear, this is not about abandoning democratic values such as championing fair debate or an abhorrence of racism. But it is about being free from political bias, guided by the pursuit of truth, not a particular agenda.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for comment.

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