Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"The BBC's impartiality is utterly unfettered"

It seems that the money extorted from owners of TV sets is insufficient for the BBC’s grandiose plans. They have to take out loans. Nothing wrong with that, especially as they assure us that they go for the cheapest money. However, there is a problem, as we have written before in the dim and distant past, if the loan comes from the European Investment Bank, which, according to its own website is “an autonomous body set up to finance capital investment furthering European integration by promoting EU policies”.

Nor is it a question of one loan. There was a report of a loan of £25 million back in 2002 and they seem to have received another £25 million at the end of March, as discussed at the culture, media and sport select committee hearing on the BBC annual report today.

It seems that at the beginning of June the Beeb applied for another loan of £75 million, which is still being considered by the bank.

At the committee meeting Philip Davies the genuinely eurosceptic MP for Shipley asked rationally enough:
“How does the BBC claim to report on matters of the EU objectively when it has received loans from this particular institution?”
He referred to the BBC’s nickname of Brussels Broadcasting Corporation. I am told by one who was present that the Chairman Michael Grade and the Director General, Mark Thompson, were both rattled by Mr Davies’s question and comment.

Mr Grade replied that the BBC has been exonerated of institutional bias about the EU but he had not been briefed about the loan and will look into it.

Mark Thompson made a ringing pronouncement:
“None of this money would go anywhere near the news division. I want to give my absolute assurance that the BBC’s impartiality is utterly unfettered by this.”
How very reassuring.

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