A well-known British voice actor, Norman Shelley’s voice was used to broadcast some of the most important words in modern British history – including ‘We shall fight them on the beaches’. It is marked ‘BBC’, Churchill: Speech. Artist Norman Shelley’ and stamped ‘September 7, 1942’.
It would be difficult to list all the controversies that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been involved in since its inception, as there have been many.
Some notable ones include
The Jimmy Savile scandal: In 2012, the BBC was criticised for handling child sexual abuse allegations against the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile. The scandal led to the resignation of several senior BBC executives, and an independent review found that the broadcaster had a “deferential culture” that allowed Savile to abuse victims on BBC premises for decades.
The Newsnight scandal: In 2012, the BBC’s Newsnight program was criticised for cancelling an investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile. The decision was later revealed to have been made by the then-editor of the program, Peter Rippon, without consulting senior management. The fallout from the scandal led to the resignation of several senior BBC executives, including then-Director General George Entwistle.
The Panorama-Princess Diana scandal: In 1995, the BBC’s Panorama program aired an interview with Princess Diana in which she made several personal revelations about her marriage and the royal family. The journalist Martin Bashir’s interview was criticised for its unethical tactics, including using fake bank statements to gain Diana’s trust.
The Hutton Inquiry: In 2003, the BBC was criticised for covering the Iraq War, specifically the death of weapons expert David Kelly. The broadcaster reported that the Government had “sexed up” a dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to justify the war. Still, the subsequent Hutton Inquiry found that the BBC’s reporting was “unfounded” and that the broadcaster had failed to follow its editorial guidelines.
The Gender Pay Gap Scandal: In 2017, the BBC was criticised for its gender pay gap, with some accusing the broadcaster of paying female employees less than male employees for the same work. The scandal prompted the BBC to publish the salaries of its top earners, revealing a significant disparity between men’s and women’s salaries.
In the 1980s, the BBC faced controversy over the airing of a documentary called “Real Lives: At Death’s Door,” which depicted terminally ill patients in a hospice. Some viewers and healthcare professionals deemed it exploitative and in poor taste.
The BBC is known for being deceitful and corrupt right from its inception. As former Prime Minister Winston Churchill publicly stated in 1954, “I am against the monopoly enjoyed by the BBC. For eleven years they kept me off the air. They prevented me from expressing views which have proved to be right. Their behaviour has been tyrannical. They are honeycombed with Socialists—probably with Communists”.
The seeds of BBC’s unholy alliance with the British Foreign Office are not new. In 1969, Reuters agreed to open a reporting service in the Middle East as part of a British Foreign Office plan to influence the international media. To protect the reputation of Reuters, which may have been damaged if the funding from the British Government became known, the BBC paid Reuters “enhanced subscriptions” for access to its news service and was compensated by the British Government for the extra expense. The BBC paid Reuters £350,000 over four years under the plan.
On January 30 2011, the BBC broadcast an episode of its motoring TV show Top Gear during which presenters referred to Mexicans as both “lazy” and “feckless” and Mexican food as “refried sick”. The broadcast caused many complaints in Mexico, including in newspapers and websites, while a censure motion was considered in the Mexican senate. Jeremy Clarkson, one of the presenters, expressed doubt that there would be any complaints against them as, he alleged, the Mexican ambassador would be asleep. British MPs described the comments as “ignorant, derogatory and racist” and called on the BBC to say it was sorry.
The BBC then offered an apology, though it claimed there was no “vindictiveness” in the remarks and that they were just part of the stereotype-based comedy the organisation espoused, such as when it “make[s] jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised”. Even in its apology, the BBC managed to insult three European nations.
BBC’s false news against India is not a new phenomenon. The BBC’s 50-year-old flagship weekly current affairs program Panorama aired a documentary claiming that Bangalore-based suppliers of Primark, a hugely successful retailer with 220 stores across Europe, were using child labour in their production in 2008. This claim is untrue, and the BBC apologised to Primark, admitting its mistake.
The British Broadcasting Company, as the BBC was initially called, was formed on October 18 1922, by a group of leading wireless manufacturers, including Marconi. There needed to be rules, standards or established purpose to guide this organisation. Through innovating, experimenting and organising, the service began to expand. Throughout its existence, the BBC has proved itself unworthy of any respect as a media company, has worked closely as possible with the British Foreign Office to destabilise other nations, and created dangerous controversies based on fabricated and false information.
The ongoing controversy created by the BBC documentary to defame the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is just another attempt to sabotage political, social and economic relationships between India and the UK, for which the UK will ultimately pay a heavy price.