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'BBC wrong to invite BNP on Question Time' – NUJ

21 October 2009

The NUJ has criticised the BBC's decision to invite the leader of the far-right British National Party onto the flagship Question Time programme. The union has said that the format of the show does not allow the BNP's dishonest propaganda to be properly challenged.

The NUJ also praised journalists across the UK who are exposing the views of the far-right party to professional scrutiny.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"We believe the BNP should be subject to proper journalistic scrutiny which would challenge their anti-social policies and their dishonest propaganda which seeks to spread disharmony and fear.
"We believe this requires rigorous questioning backed up by detailed research.
"There is no opportunity for this sort of forensic examination in the knock-about soapbox environment of Question Time.
"We believe the BBC is wrong to invite the BNP to appear on Question Time and will support any member who refuses to work on this week's programme in line with the union's code of conduct and conscience clause.
"The NUJ applauds journalists in the BBC and elsewhere around the UK who are subjecting the BNP's racist propaganda to professional scrutiny – and exposing their lies where they find them."

The NUJ's guidelines for reporting racist organisations are:

  • Do not sensationalise by reports, photographs, film or presentation the activities of racist organisations.
  • Seek to publish or broadcast material exposing the myths and lies of racist organisations and
  • their anti-social behaviour.
  • Do not allow the letters column or 'phone-in' programmes to be used to spread racial hatred in whatever guise.
  • When interviewing representatives of racist organisations or reporting meetings or statements or claims, journalists should carefully check all reports for accuracy and seek rebutting or opposing comments. The antisocial nature of such views should be exposed

Tags: , broadcasting, question time, bnp, bbc, far right, racism