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MEP criticises BBC as a "politically biased" corporation

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On 10 November 2010, Stratford Magistrates Court heard a case in which the wife of UKIP MEP Gerard Batten was charged for watching television without a TV licence.

In August 2009 Mr Batten had written a letter to the Television Licensing Authority (and Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC) explaining that he had decided not to renew the TV licence for his home because of the institutionalised, political bias of the BBC.

“After a lifetime of watching news and current affairs programmes I am sick to death of the political bias of the BBC and their reporting of the 2009 European elections was the straw that broke the camel’s back. However, there is an enormous dossier of evidence compiled that substantiates that bias and can be used as evidence,” said Mr Batten, explaining his position on the UKIP’s website.

“My contention is that the BBC has consistently over a long period of time been in breach of its Charter and Regulations to provide unbiased reporting.  I argue that a contract exists between the BBC and viewer and that BBC has broken its part of the contract.  For my part of the contract I no longer watch the BBC and therefore my obligation to pay is removed,” he added.

He says that he invited the BBC to prosecute him if the corporation had an intention to do so.  However, instead of prosecuting him, the corporation turned to his wife.

Mr Batten expressed his dismay at the decision calling it “a cowardly tactic, reminiscent of the KGB” and saying it was made “to pressurise me through my innocent wife”.

The BBC has been accused of ideological bias on a number of previous occasions.

In December 2009 the Church of England criticised the BBC for not showing people “for whom faith is part of their daily lives” often enough in soap operas and other drama programmes.  The Church has also accused the corporation of an unfair portrayal of believers and for treating religious people like a “rare species” to be studied by Attenborough.

In June 2009 the BBC was accused of attacking Christianity and fervently supporting other minority religions.  Don Maclean, the former BBC Radio 2 religious programme presenter, who hosted Good Morning Sunday for 16 years, said that the corporation supports Islam and attacks Christianity.

In January 2009 BBC presenter Jeremy Vine said he believed that Christ is who he said he was, but did not think that he would be allowed to say so on air.

In October 2008 Mr Thompson, who was the BBC Director General since June 2004, raised eyebrows when he said that Islam should be treated more sensitively than Christianity.

Barrister Paul Diamond defended Mrs Batten in Court.



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