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Monday, 1 June 2015

UKIP Demand full disclosure when BBC reporting EU

The BBC should declare full disclosure over the funding it has received from the European Union whenever it reports on European matters, says UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall. Figures published on the European Commission’s Financial Transparency website show the BBC received £22 million from the EU in the last seven years. Mr Nuttall, MEP for the North West, said with an in-out referendum now set to take place within this parliament, the BBC must always declare its EU interests in its news output. He has called for the caption “The BBC receives EU funding” to be added to all television reports concerning Europe, and also to be read out before radio reports and included within website articles.

“Full disclosure” is used in news reports across the industry for journalists to admit they have a personal or commercial link to the subject of their story. For instance, when reporting on the News of the World phone hacking scandal, The Times would reference “News International, publisher of the News of The World and parent company of The Times”. Similarly, the Guardian’s media commentator and blogger Roy Greenslade will usually reference his former editorship of the Daily Mirror when writing about that newspaper’s parent company, Trinity Mirror. 

Mr Nuttall said: “Full disclosure is designed to alert readers, listeners and viewers that while a report has been prepared impartially, the consumer may have cause to consider the wider implications of the involvement of the journalist or the organisation he or she works for. “It’s not a perfect system but at least all the facts are laid bare for the audience, allowing them to make up their own minds. “And that is why today I am calling for the BBC to also adopt full disclosure for each and every single one of its news reports that relate, in any way, to the European Union and the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of it.” 

He added: “It may surprise members of the public to learn that the BBC’s pro-EU agenda may be linked to the fact that it has received millions of pounds of European funding. “So the question surely is why the BBC chooses not to disclose this fact when delivering supposedly ‘impartial’ reports relating to the EU or indeed the upcoming referendum. “Most organisations that receive European money carry the EU logo, but the BBC does not. With the in/out referendum now set to take place within this parliament, which has to change. “

The notice ‘The BBC receives EU funding’ should now be carried in all BBC news reports referencing the EU or the referendum. “This will ensure the BBC’s millions of viewers, listeners and readers remain completely aware of the corporation’s financial connection to the European Union.” It has also emerged that the CBI – which has said it will campaign for an “in” vote in the referendum – has received at least £800,000 in EU funding over the last five years.