The BBC Charter outlines the corporation’s four aims for the public. The first of these is to give objective news and information to assist individuals in better comprehending and engaging with the world around them. As a result, the organization has established itself as being “impartial and independent.”
However, the BBC is frequently accused of being politically biased in its news coverage. Of the 1,004 British adults surveyed in a BMG Research study in 2018, 37% said they thought the BBC was unbiased.
People placed ITV and Channel 4 higher than the BBC when it came to impartiality, according to the survey.
There is a perception that the BBC is biased on both sides of the political aisle. Two-fifths of those polled by BMG thought the BBC was biased toward the left, while only one-eighth said the BBC was biased toward the right. Diverse groups have varying viewpoints on the same issue. In contrast to younger audiences, those over the age of 50 are more inclined to regard the BBC as a corporation that promotes liberal principles.
Accusations of Left-Wing Bias:
In December 2020, Conservative Ministers officially boycotted Radio 4’s Today program in protest over the BBC’s perceived left-wing bias.
Conservative MPs wrote to the BBC’s new Director-General in August 2020, accusing the corporation of one-sided broadcasting, which “fundamentally failed” to convey the different viewpoints of the public.
Boris Johnson, echoing David Cameron’s 2015 promise to decriminalize non-payment of the BBC licence fee, reiterated the same promise after winning the 2019 General Election.
Accusations of Right-Wing Bias:
When it comes to BBC bias, those on the left have taken a different stance. They point out that Chris Patten, a former Conservative Cabinet Minister, served as the BBC Trust’s Chairman from 2011 to 2014. Both The Daily Politics and The Sunday Politics have long been hosted by Andrew Neil, who has also served as Chairman of a right-of-centre magazine, The Spectator. Moreover, they point out that for many years, both programs were hosted by Neil.
In September 2021, it was revealed that the current BBC Director-General, Tim Davie, was a former member of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Association. Previously, Mr. Davie ran for local office but lost out to a competing candidate.
According to some critics, the BBC staff has been accused of abusing its position of neutrality by promoting personal agendas or political beliefs on its social media accounts.
Emily Maitlis and Gary Lineker, two of the BBC’s highest-paid broadcasters, were reported in 2020 for tweeting politically charged tweets.
The BBC was also accused of political prejudice during the 2016 EU Referendum, in addition to charges of party bias.
Laura Kuennsberg, the BBC’s political editor, following the Brexit referendum in 2016, remarked that the ‘world is on acid’. Brexit-supporting publications like The Daily Express then accused Kuensberg of being biased.
In addition, it has been reported that the BBC aired far more pro-EU views than euro-sceptic.