BBC reinstates Gary Lineker, apologizes and promises to review social media rules

Former football player Gary Lineker will present the sports program again match of the day The BBC and its director-general have apologized after suspending him for some tweets criticizing the British government’s new immigration law, which is said to breach public media impartiality rules. The decision came after protests from colleagues, who forced the suspension of most sports programs at the weekend, support for Lineker’s public opinion and discomfort for the Prime Minister.

“Everyone recognizes that this has been a very difficult time for staff, collaborators, presenters and, most importantly, our audience. I apologize for that.” said the director general of the BBCTim Davey in a statement on Monday. The network is also committed to reviewing the guidelines for the conduct of journalists and presenters on social networks, which it adopted in 2020. Davie, the person responsible for the policy and the decision to suspend Lineker, said there are now “grey areas” they can cause “confusion” but the chain remains committed to impartiality and freedom of expression. In an interview with the BBC, Dave made sure That, while they discuss the rules, Lineker will “follow the editorial guidelines” of the current network.

Following the settlement announcement, Lineker took to Twitter to describe the past few days as “surreal” and thanked his colleagues for their solidarity. “Football is a team sport but their support was overwhelming,” he said. He also took advantage of the message on the platform to insist on supporting refugees arriving on British shores. “As difficult as these days have been, nothing compares to leaving home to seek refuge in a faraway land from persecution or war,” he tweeted. “We will continue to be a country of mostly tolerant, welcoming and generous people,” he added.

Lineker’s suspension on Friday sparked a wider debate about the BBC’s impartiality rules and how they are applied. Public media, which is funded by law and paid for by everyone who watches television, is subject to a A long and detailed rules guide which includes guidance on safeguarding “due impartiality”. “The term ‘finite’ means that impartiality must be adequate and appropriate to the product, taking into account the nature of the subject matter and content, the likely expectations of the audience, and any cues that may influence those expectations,” the text reads. , which also has a special section on behavior in social networks. However, the BBC itself emphasizes that “the risk is greater when the expression of opinion coincides with the individual’s field of work” and cites the “low” risk of a sports journalist evaluating politics as an example.

Lineker, who has presented the BBC show since 1999 but is not a staff member, has no role in current policy coverage. Other hosts of the entertainment space have not been banned for expressing political opinion and asking to vote for a party.

Sunak discomfort

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted this weekend that the government should not interfere in the BBC’s internal debates while praising Lineker as a sports presenter. Sunak appeared uncomfortable about the issue, and several ministers refrained from commenting over the weekend. Instead, last week About thirty Conservative MPs They signed a letter demanding an “independent investigation” into the BBC sports presenter’s tweets and forcing him to apologise. Several newspapers with conservative editorial lines published front pages and articles calling for Lineker to be removed from the program.

Beyond the BBC’s role, the Sunak government now fears complications from its new legislation, which some The Tories They start to feel uncomfortable. The proposed immigration law has been questioned by the United Nations, the European Commission and many human rights organizations for possible violations of international conventions that the United Kingdom has written and signed.

Davey, the director-general of the BBC, said on Monday that he had not been pressured into suspending Lineker. “That’s not how we work as editors at the BBC. assured in the interview In a public setting, where a journalist asked him about his background in the Conservative Party as a (failed) candidate for the council.

The position of the BBC and its relationship with the ruling party is now made particularly sensitive by the BBC’s current chairman, Richard Sharpe, a former banker who is under investigation for securing an £800,000 (over €900,000) loan to former prime minister Boris Johnson. . Sharpe remains on the job despite the ongoing investigation.

Public opinion

The majority of public opinion favors Lineker in this dispute, but there is a gap between Labor voters and Conservatives, who are more critical and are losing confidence in the BBC.

According to a YouGov poll this weekendLineker has the support of a majority of those polled (50% to 30%) but, when looking at the data by ideology, 72% of those who say they are Labor voters have a favorable view of the leader in this contest. 56% of conservatives have a negative opinion.

The BBC is the most trusted publication in the UK, but its position has declined in recent years. 55% of respondents. Oxford University Journalism Research Institute Reuters They say they trust Britain’s public media, but those who say they don’t have risen from 11% in 2018 to 26% in 2022. Those who do not trust are mostly men, have a low level of academic training and are less interested. in the news Based on data from the 2022 report. More than half of those who say they don’t trust the BBC are Conservative voters, and two-thirds voted for Brexit in 2016.

Source: El Diario





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