Sunday, February 23, 2014

In one of his rare TV appearances Lord Hall, the person in day-to-day charge of the BBC said it is "an organisation which increasingly people want to feel involved in, and they should feel involved in, and we should explain ourselves." (Lord Hall - Points of View on Sunday 24th November 2013) But when push comes to shove, neither Lord Hall himself nor other BBC employees seem very happy to do that.

My previous blog as well as my blog on 10th February 2014 illustrate how the BBC has tried to avoid discussion of human rights abuses.

In this interview with IOC president Thomas Bach, BBC Sports correspondent David Bond criticises David Cameron's decision not to attend the Sochi Games - hardly exactly an impartial position for a BBC journalist to take, especially given the circumstances of which we are all aware. But then, as I've noted before in this Blog, David Bond has never really shown any significant interest in the human rights of LGBT people. In this tweet he sneers at AT&T for being one of the few sponsor companies to show support. And a couple of weeks ago he suggested, in an interview with UK Government minister Maria Miller, that Britain helping gay rights organisations "could be seen as quite incendiary."

For those who don't know, BBC Director General, Lord Hall, is a member of the Organising Committee for UK/Russia Year of Culture 2014. Could that be the reason why the BBC's coverage of the Sochi Olympics has been presented in such a positive light? Tony Hall's empathy with Russia might partly explain the bias, but there's also the TV licence fee to consider. Having forked out for the Sochi Games coverage, the BBC wouldn't want viewers to question whether it was right to participate. The answer, therefore, was to show the event in a good light and minimise the issue of human rights abuse.

There are, of course, thousands of other questions that could be asked about BBC's coverage, but why bother? The pusillanimous athletes and Britain's national broadcaster gave Putin exactly the propaganda victory he'd hoped for from the start. Perhaps Channel 4 and the Paralympians will do better?

Martin Luther King Jr, once said "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

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