BNP Question Time debate - the BBC failed

Huge debate surrounded the BBC's decision to invite and allow BNP leader Nikc Griffin onto its 'flagship' programme Question Time. No one has emerged a winner - if there can be one in such a situation.

Contrary to silly suggestions that allowing Griffin on TV would be 'illegal' it was not - how can one in a democratic society legally prevent someone who is an elected politician - even if we find this distasteful and unacceptable - from appearing on a debate on a publicly funded state broadcast channel. We might not like what people have to say but to the extent we rely on our democratic and legal process we have to accept that the rules dictate they have a right to say things (subject to laws such as incitement etc) and there is not a law that prevents people (subject to the rules of contempt of court or certain criminals) from appearing on television.

What Mediabeak thinks was the main failing of Question Time is the fact that the first question was 'loaded' and referred directly to the BNP and so made the BNP the main subject of Question Time debate rather than allow a series of subjects to be presented to the panel and see what Griffin had to contribute. So Question Time turned into a debate about the BNP and whether Griffin was a Nazi and should be on TV rather than a programme that allowed viewers to hear Griffin and others debate issues of the day. Had the editors/producers let the programme take its course it would have made for more plausible and useful television. Instead we have a programme that did not answer many questions, provided the papers with the headlines they chose to intrpret and left no one truly wiser.

Do we like what Griffin has to say or stands for - no - BUT has he a case to complain to the BBC that his treatment on the BBC was biased, yes. In a sense there is a greater honesty to his racial offensiveness than the opportunistic and hyperbolic vitriol spouted by many politicians whose real views we can be less certain of.

No comments: