Friday, October 12, 2007

The BBC's attempt to ban free speech

According to press reports, Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, has warned senior staff such as Charlotte Green, Brian Perkins and Peter Donaldson to keep out of public debate regarding the effect of planned job cuts of 2,800 people – about 12 per cent of the BBC's total staff.

The BBC is attempting to portray involvement by senior staff in such debate as an attempt by them to merely protect their own jobs.

Even if this is the case, senior or junior staff have the right in a free society to express their views.

However, this is not merely a case of people trying to protect their jobs. It is a matter of experts (people whose job it is to provide news in one of the few genuinely free mass media channels left in the world) commenting on the public effects of the proposed cuts. If these experts should not enter the public debate, who should?

Since the government (and its loyal co-optees Mark Thompson the Director-General and Sir Michael Lyons, the Chairman of the BBC Trust) have their attention focuses primarily on "efficiencies", they are hardly impartial, reliable or trustworthy commentators regarding the public effects of their "effeciencies" - we have all seen the effects of such "efficiencies" in other areas of the public services.

The official line by the BBC is that an internal consultation by Mr Thompson "is the channel for people inside the BBC to play a part in", once a final “reprioritisation” has been approved by the corporation’s governing body next week.

That is like saying that a restaurant's menu has been finalised by management, and the chefs will be given the opportunity to participate in discussions regarding the best ways of preparing the dishes, but that the chefs should not discuss whether the menu is the right one. Sphere: Related Content

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