Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Rebellion at the BBC: Lineker controversy deepens crisis at UK broadcaster – Usky News

London: Britain’s BBC Football presenter Gary Lineker’s criticism of government migration policy has sparked a growing crisis, prompting a presenter revolt, prompting a comment from the prime minister and leaving the broadcaster’s boss defending his position.
The BBC was forced to remove most of its sports coverage on Saturday after presenters refused to act in solidarity with Lineker, after the BBC defended its neutrality by taking Lineker off the air because of his comments on social media. had demanded.
Lineker, a former England football captain, the BBC’s highest-paid presenter and anchor of the football highlights program “Match of the Day”, was suspended from his role after criticizing Britain’s immigration policy.
Critics of Lineker’s suspension say the BBC succumbed to government pressure, sparking a fierce debate about the neutrality of the national broadcaster.
BBC Director General Tim Davey told the BBC on Saturday that he had no intention of resigning over the matter. “We and I at the BBC are driven solely by a passion for fairness, not by promoting the left, the right or any particular party,” he said.
Davey said he wanted Lineker back on the air and hoped to find a balance that enabled some presenters to express opinions while at the same time maintaining the BBC’s neutrality.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a statement on Saturday defending migration policy, which bars asylum seekers arriving in small boats across the English Channel, saying she hoped Lineker and the BBC could resolve their differences in time .
Sunak said, “This is the right case for him, not for the government.”
The Lineker controversy severely disrupted BBC sports programming on Saturday as several presenters walked out, prompting the issue of an apology.
Saturday’s edition of “Match of the Day”, presented by Lineker for more than 20 years, was scheduled to air at normal times despite his absence, but would likely be a silent show of highlights, as commentators refused to work on it. Is done.

neutrality under scrutiny

The BBC is committed to being politically neutral, but has faced criticism from the Conservative and Labor parties over how neutral it really is, especially in the age of social media when high-profile presenters can easily make their personal positions known. Can
The opposition Labor Party and media commentators accused the BBC of silencing Lineker, Sunak’s spokeswoman called Lineker’s comments “unacceptable” and the Interior Minister Suella Braverman Said they were “offensive”.
“The BBC is not acting impartially by bowing to Tory MPs complaining about Gary Lineker,” Labor leader Keir Starmer told reporters at a conference in Wales on Saturday.
Lineker declined to comment to the media as he left his London home on Saturday and did not answer questions from reporters upon arrival at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, where he visited one of his former clubs.
The uproar came after Sunak announced the new law earlier in the week. Lineker, 62, took to Twitter to describe the law as “a brutal policy directed at the most vulnerable in a language not dissimilar to the one used by Germany in the 30s.”
Seeking to resolve the dispute, the BBC said there needed to be an agreed position on Lineker’s use of social media before he could return to presenting. But critics of Lineker’s suspension say he is entitled to his personal opinion because he is not a news presenter.
Greg Dyke, who was director general of the BBC between 2000 and 2004, told BBC Radio on Saturday that the BBC had made a mistake.
“It is believed that much-loved television presenter Gary Lineker was taken off air following pressure from the government on a particular issue,” Dyke said.
It could drive viewers away from the 100-year-old BBC, which is funded by a £159 ($192) annual “licence fee” tax on all television-watching households.
While the broadcaster remains a central presence in British cultural life, it is struggling to remain relevant with young audiences and faces threats to its funding as some Conservative MPs seek to scrap the license fee.
Questions about BBC chairman Richard Sharp present another challenge for the broadcaster.
Sharp is under pressure for failing to announce his involvement in a loan facility for former Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson shortly before he was appointed to the role. Sharp’s appointment, recommended by the government, is being reviewed by Britain’s public appointments watchdog.


- Advertisement -

More News

Latest NEWS

- Advertisement -