Leaked email reveals BBC's suppression of anti-monarchy views

By staff writers
February 25, 2012

Producers of the BBC’s Gary Barlow jubilee documentary have made it clear that the corporation is seeking one-sided celebratory coverage of the royal jubilee. The evidence emerged in an email leaked to the pro-democracy campaign group Republic.

The BBC only this week has denied accusations from Republic that it is seeking to promote and celebrate the monarchy, rather than provide balanced coverage. Yet the leaked email makes clear that no dissenting voices against the monarchy will be allowed in the programme.

The email says the producers are “hoping to speak with people … who have a respect for the Queen” and that “we are not interested in hearing a personal bad word against the Queen". The email exchange goes on to say that the documentary is “to celebrate her reign” and makes it quite clear that the project is entirely pro-monarchy.

The producers even make the extraordinary stipulation that they would speak to a republican but only if they are “willing to talk about the Queen herself positively”.

The programme features Gary Barlow speaking to people around the Commonwealth about the Queen. Most Commonwealth countries are republics and many of those that aren’t are actively discussing ditching the monarchy.

Republic accused the BBC of "privately doing all they can to produce pro-monarchy propaganda in support of the jubilee". The organisation's chief executive, Graham Smith, described the email as "a disgraceful admission".

“This is nothing more than censorship and is completely unacceptable," said Smith, "Their excuse that this is not a political documentary is not a get-out clause that releases them of their obligations to be impartial".

He continued, “For years the BBC has been promising that balance will be achieved ‘over time’ yet we’re still waiting for that to happen. These emails only show the BBC’s commitment to promoting the monarchy is getting worse, not better.”


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.