Campaigning journalism
Aug 18, 2009
Bishop Hill in BBC

So George Alagaih, BBC newsreader, is told by the corporation to stop acting as head of the Fairtrade Foundation, a body that campaigns against free trade and against agricultural development. This is apparently because a series "about food that he will present on BBC Two could provoke doubts about his impartiality".

This presumably refers to the Future of Food programme which went out last night - Douglas Carswell has a brief review here.

Does it strike anyone else that the BBC have got this the wrong way round? Allowing BBC journalists to make programmes about issues on which they are active campaigners would indeed lead to biased programming. But merely demanding that they leave their official posts in those campaigns doesn't change a thing. We now know that George Alagiah is an active campaigner for Fairtrade. Ergo his programme on the subject is still biased, whether he has left his position as patron or not.

It should not be broadcast.


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