Demand a full independent inquiry into the BBC’s coverage of the 2019 General Election

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We have just witnessed the dirtiest general election campaign in British political history.

We expect anti-Labour ferocity from a flagrantly biased billionaire-owned press that will stop at nothing to scupper a progressive government being elected in Britain. But when our public-service broadcaster, the BBC, joins in the anti-Labour savagery-fest, enough is enough. The BBC has a legal remit to provide fair and balanced political coverage in a general election campaign; and there are already concerns being expressed from many quarters that the BBC has blatantly violated its own guidelines in its recent election coverage. The following sources merely scratch the surface:

Novara Media Novara Media –  “The BBC is… CANCELLED?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9fWnQLh96c&feature=youtu.be

Media Lens – The Arrogance of BBC News”: https://www.medialens.org/2019/the-arrogance-of-bbc-news/

Jewish Voice for Labour – Jewish Voice for Labour lobbies BBC over election coverage bias: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/statement/jewish-voice-for-labour-lobbies-bbc-over-election-coverage-bias/

A Very Public Sociologist – All that is Solid – The BBC's Anti-Labour Bias: https://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-bbcs-anti-labour-bias.html

Guardian – “How truth gets lost in the BBC’s search for balance”: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jan/01/how-truth-gets-lost-in-the-bbc-search-for-balance

Independent – ‘Consciously’ biased BBC contributed to Tory election win, Labour MP says: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bbc-general-election-bias-labour-corbyn-andy-mcdonald-boris-johnson-a9248226.html

Andy McDonald MP, Daily Mirror – ‘Labour's unfair treatment shows broadcasters need urgent democratic reforms’: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/labours-unfair-treatment-shows-broadcasters-21222653.amp

LSE – “The Exit Poll, BBC Election Night and systemic media bias”: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/bbc-election-night-and-systemic-media-bias/

With our print media overwhelmingly dominated by right-wing conservative interests, it’s essential for democracy that our flagship public-service broadcaster provides some kind of countervailing balance. Historically, this was a role the BBC discharged reasonably well – being a significant factor in the election of a number of Labour governments since 1964. Without a relatively neutral broadcast media, Labour will always start with a massive handicap, and will have a mountain to climb just to get over the line.

We wish to emphasise that we strongly support the continued existence of a well-funded public-service broadcasting organisation – the BBC – that is independent of political interference from any quarter, and which discharges its neutrality remit effectively. This petition should therefore not be used in any way to support a wider ideological attack on the BBC, and to question or challenge its existence.

Yet notwithstanding our shared and passionate commitment to the principle of public-service broadcasting, it’s just not good enough that, in a year or two, reputable and independent academic research reports will conclusively demonstrate the BBC’s recent anti-Labour bias. When voters’ access to unbiased information is compromised in this way, democracy itself is gravely threatened. When a government is elected to absolute power, carried over the line by bias and propaganda, its very legitimacy is in severe doubt – with grave implications for the sheer governability of a deeply disgruntled, disenfranchised citizenry.

Predictably, in a piece written for the Daily Telegraph, BBC boss Lord Hall summarily dismissed accusations of such BBC bias (as reported in the London Evening Standard, 23 December 2019). So let’s ask independent authorities to see who’s right.

We the undersigned demand an immediate independent inquiry into the BBC’s 2019 general election coverage (NOT held by OfCom), to ascertain the truth about these grave accusations, and so lessen the possibility of such an outrage to democracy being repeated at future general elections.

Launched by Dr Richard House, Stroud, 7 January 2020