In Brief

BBC accused of anti-Brexit bias

Civitas claims pro-Brexit views under-represented on flagship BBC news programmes

Pro-Brexit views have been under-represented on the BBC for decades, a new report claims.

The study by the right-of-centre think tank Civitas, titled The Brussels Broadcasting Corporation?, found that of 4,275 guests discussing the EU on BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme between 2005 and 2015, only 123 were supporters of leaving the EU.

It also says that in 274 hours of monitored BBC EU coverage between 2002 and 2017, only 14 speakers were left-wing Brexit advocates.

The report’s authors, David Keighley and Andrew Jubb, said there has been a tendency over the years to present pro-withdrawal views “through the prism of ‘Tory splits’ and thereby downplay the significance of left-wing eursceptisicm”.

They say their report is “a shocking indictment of the BBC’s failure to achieve impartiality, and in particular to incorporate the views of those who wanted to leave the EU into its news output”. They say the “bias” is ongoing.

This only confirms “what most fair-minded people have long suspected”, says The Sun, that “the BBC is run by a pro-EU metropolitan elite which is out of tune with the majority who, let’s not forget, voted for Brexit”.

The BBC has long come under fire from Brexiteers, who have attacked the corporation for left-wing cultural and institutional bias.

However, pro-EU campaigners claim its desire to remain impartial during the referendum campaign resulted in a failure to give certain Leave promises, most notably the £350m a week NHS pledge, the scrutiny they deserved.

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