BBC plunged into BNP election row


Senior BBC journalists are furious that the BNP leader Nick Griffin is being guaranteed prime time interview slots in compensation for his omission from the first ever televised prime ministerial debates.

A new directive issued by corporation executives forces the editors of flagship news programmes to give airtime to minority parties, including the BNP, immediately after the live debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Insiders have revealed they are deeply unhappy and believe that the edict – overseen by the BBC's deputy director general and head of journalism Mark Byford – could wreck proper reporting of the debates.

The editors and presenters on Radio 4's Today programme have been told they must interview representatives of the BNP, Ukip, the Green party, SNP and Plaid Cymru on the same show, the morning after the debates.

Sources said this will leave almost no room for serious discussion of how the mainstream leaders performed.

One source said: "We're all spitting feathers here. This is further proof that the BBC's obsession with 'compliance' is destroying its news coverage and journalism.

"The only result of this directive from Mark Byford and the rest of the overpaid detached senior management is that listeners will simply switch off in droves.

"The idea of having to interview the Ukip leader Nigel Farage – let alone Nick Griffin – is turning people's stomachs."



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