NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
It is becoming increasing obvious that the BBC is actively discriminating against Cornwall based organisations and political parties in the run up to the General Election for the Westminster Parliament.
The BBC’s Charter dated 19 September 2006 assured that it would be ‘Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities’ and the Kernow Branch now believes the Corporation to be in blatant breach of that Charter.
Scores of complaints have been sent to the BBC from people in Cornwall. It is an organisation whose conduct during the Scottish Referendum Campaign was called into doubt. Increasing numbers in Cornwall are refusing to pay the unfair BBC Licence Fee and are turning their backs on the Corporation.
Several members of the Kernow Branch have written in complaint to the BBC and an example of one such complaint and response is hereunder:
“Dear Ms Clough,
Re. TV debate and Mebyon Kernow
I write to register my strongest complaint regarding the BBC South West decision to exclude Mebyon Kernow, The Party for Cornwall, in its forthcoming televised debate.
The excuse given, that Mebyon Kernow candidates do not stand for election outside Cornwall’s borders, is frankly ludicrous, given that in the recent televised debate featuring seven party leaders, Plaid Cymru and The Scottish Nationalist Party do not contest elections beyond the borders of their own respective nations.
Mebyon Kernow (which, incidentally, is not a “nationalist” party as often described by the media) is also a party of 60 years duration, several times longer than UKIP which also has no current Members of Parliament in the “South West” and a mere handful of Councillors, and yet UKIP is invited to take part in your programme.
It is my considered view that the decision of BBC South West contravenes the requirements of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which embraces the Cornish people, and that a test case should be brought before the Council of Europe in this matter.
I therefore request BBC South West to reconsider and reverse this discriminatory decision.
C. Weatherhill (Mr)”
The BBC responded as follows:
“Dear Mr Weatherhill
Thank you for your recent email, addressed to Zoe Clough.
The BBC South West Television election debate will be broadcast across the entire South West, including parts of Dorset and Somerset as well as Devon and Cornwall.
I am aware that Mebyon Kernow is standing in all Cornish constituencies, which is why the party has been invited to take part in all of the BBC Radio Cornwall constituency debates.
However, unlike the other parties included in the regional TV debate, Mebyon Kernow is not fielding candidates in any other part of the region. As with any programme, we have the editorial discretion to make a judgement about limiting contributions in a way that ensures the best understanding for the whole of the audience. For that reason, the debate panel has been limited to those parties that can demonstrate significant electoral support right across the region and/or the UK.
We have invited Mebyon Kernow to attend and I think it’s highly likely that they will be featured during the recording. We also intend to include a filmed statement from them in the programme.
The BBC is committed to fair and balanced reporting of the General Election; BBC Spotlight and BBC Radio Cornwall will endeavour to report all the significant news developments and strands of opinion as the campaign unfolds. To this end, Mebyon Kernow will feature in our overall television and radio coverage.
As in all elections, BBC programme editors will ensure that the views of political parties are reported in a balanced and proportionate way. We believe that our levels of coverage are proportionate.
Janet Hopkinson (on behalf of Leo Devine)
Assistant to Head of BBC South West and Output Editor
BBC South West, Broadcasting House, Seymour Road, Plymouth, PL3 5BD”
The Kernow Branch are inviting all those who believe that the BBC must serve all the people of Cornwall in a fair, comprehensive and balanced manner to complain to Janet Hopkinson whose email address is: email@example.com demanding that any Cornish Political Parties which stand for election are treated equally to those standing elsewhere. Anything else is discriminatory practice by the BBC.
(This article prepared for Celtic News by Michael Chappell, Assistant General Secretary Celtic League)
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)
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