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Aitken, the short answer is no. Aitken's is a sceptical question. The straight-talking, right-thinking Aitken is the man to administer it. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter. For information on how we process your data, read our Privacy Policy. This website uses cookies to improve user experience.

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Read more! Get our weekly email Enter your email address. Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why?

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Sign up here to find out. Enter your email address. The same goes for the people it employs. That bleeds into the bigger question of the day: the BBC is getting a really hard time right now about Brexit and bias. On their flagship news shows, the debate is sometimes so polarised and dumbed down.

Can We Still Trust the BBC? by Bloomsbury Publishing - Issuu

I think the BBC has a responsibility, at a time when our politics are really fraught, to promote all sides of the argument, not just the clickbait. I think the BBC has got to stop being so scared of some of its critics. The BBC is a bit like parliament. I might find its procedures arcane, its composition unrepresentative, some of its decision-making frankly baffling, but ultimately I want the institution to survive for centuries into the future.

There are rules that apply to people who have served in ministerial roles, limiting what jobs they can take for two years after being in government: the same should be the case for those in a position of seniority in the BBC.

Can We Still Trust the BBC?

Another chronic malady for the BBC is impartiality and platforming. But the BBC does have its biases. It had the most pro-war agenda out of all the British broadcasters during the invasion of Iraq. A study by the Media Reform Coalition has shown a pattern of hostile coverage of Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him.

But the BBC needs to recognise that it has been outplayed at the very game it set the rules for.


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The BBC has got to recognise, and deal with, the limitations of some of its formats. Short, combative interviews are the bread-and-butter of far-right media. If the BBC wants to cover the far right, while preserving its own values and future viability, it needs to make more room for long-form content. There are values-driven conflicts in politics, and what it means to occupy the centre ground changes over time.

Can we still trust the BBC?

There needs to be shared space in public discourse in which we, the people, can see our viewpoints represented, and the rigorous questioning of those who represent us. As one of our most important institutions the BBC needs protecting. Sadly, too often that protection needs to be from itself.

Anyone who knows it, as I do, would have instantly understood the late decision not to broadcast an already recorded episode of Have I Got News for You because it featured the Change UK leader was a cock-up, not a conspiracy. The impartiality rules are clear — and someone was asleep at the wheel.