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29 Sep, 2020 15:43

BBC to censor stars online in bid to remain ‘impartial’, new director general says, as pressure grows on ‘woke’ broadcaster

BBC to censor stars online in bid to remain ‘impartial’, new director general says, as pressure grows on ‘woke’ broadcaster

Outspoken BBC staff may have their social media accounts suspended, or even risk their contracts being terminated, if they break the broadcaster’s impartiality rules, the corporation’s new boss has threatened.

Tim Davie, who became director-general of the BBC this month, said the broadcaster would be announcing new social media rules for all staff in the coming weeks. Speaking to a House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee on Tuesday, Davie told MPs that “enforcement actions will be very clear. We’ll be able to take disciplinary action. We’ll be able to take [staff] off Twitter. I know people want to see hard action on this.”

When pushed on the issue, Davie asserted that he was prepared to take disciplinary action as far as termination in the most severe cases. In the case of a less serious breach, he said he would ask an employee to suspend their social media accounts.

The warning has already been met with dissenting voices, with outspoken BBC sports star and serial tweeter Gary Lineker posting: “I think only Twitter can take people off Twitter.”

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The BBC’s own impartiality has been frequently questioned, particularly in recent months. In early September, MP Julian Knight, the chair of the DCMS select committee, tore into the public broadcaster for its adoption of the “woke agenda” and “cancel culture.” The MP claimed “that woke culture is a massive turn-off for a lot of viewers,” adding that the BBC needs to be more in touch with the people who pay the license fee.

Meanwhile, in August, Brexiteer Lord Digby Jones was one of many who lashed out at the BBC for its decision to scrap the singing of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Rule, Britannia!’ at the BBC Proms.

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In response, actor Lawrence Fox launched a Twitter campaign that saw Britons send Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ to number one in the Apple Music charts. Despite plans to pull the patriotic songs from the performance altogether, the BBC backtracked, although the traditional anthems were played but not sung.

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