Star presenter Gary Lineker’s suspension sparks storm over BBC’s ‘impartiality’

Can you work for the BBC and make a political statement? Very proud of his impartiality recorded since 1927 “Royal Charter”, the British Public Radio and Television Commission has always given firm instructions to its journalists not to take a public stand. It prohibits journalists from commenting on social media “Personal Opinion on Public Policy, Politics and Controversial Topics”. This rule also applies to a sports host.

This is what Gary Lineker is learning the hard way. The former England football team striker is the star host of the show Game of the day, summarizes the days of the English Championship, which was suspended from duty on Tuesday March 10. The man, who has 8.7 million Twitter followers, railed against immigration legislation introduced by the British government on Tuesday. It provides that all immigrants who enter the UK illegally, without exception, are automatically deported within one month of their arrival.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, if this measure goes into effect, “Clear Violation of Refugee Convention” 1951. On Twitter, Mr. Linegar spoke “A very cruel policy against the most vulnerable, not too different from the language used in Germany in the 1930s”.

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The news caused a political storm, with the British government seizing it to attack the BBC. The case made headlines in the right-wing press, particularly the Dailymail. The BBC itself opened its own evening news with the controversy. Finally, Mr. After Lineker’s negative response, (“I will continue to give voice to the voiceless poor”), the municipal administration took strict action on Friday evening. Without rejecting him, he suspends the presenter “Until we find a clear position on the use of social networks”. In solidarity, co-providers Game of the dayFormer professional footballers Alan Shearer and Ian Wright have announced their temporary withdrawal from the show.

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Internal growling

The issue would have had less resonance if it had not followed years of discontent at the BBC against the sustained pressure exerted by various Conservative governments in power since 2010. The corporation’s chairman, Richard Sharpe, a Conservative Party donor, was appointed. By Boris Johnson in January 2021. His role did not direct him to handle editorial — he chairs the supervisory board, not the day-to-day management of the corporation — but his appointment caused a storm. Last month it emerged that Mr Sharp had helped Boris Johnson take out a personal loan while he was prime minister (an allegation he denies).

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