THE BBC has sensationally defended a working-class Question Time audience member who crtitizised immigration, in a big win for Free Speech.
The woman in the audience asked a perfectly reasonable question about immigration, leading to much backlash from much of the mainstream left, on Twitter who wrongly dismissed her as ‘far-right’.
In a statement, the publicy funded organisation that is under pressure over funding arrangements stated the following: ‘[The episode] included a debate about immigration which featured a broad range of views from the audience members and panellists… Fiona offered the panel the opportunity to respond to the points raised.”
“Ash Sarkar strongly refuted the audience member’s claims before the debate continued and we heard from other members of the panel and our audience on this issue. We recognise that some of our viewers would have preferred that Fiona interrupted this particular audience member more quickly but we are satisfied that in the generality of the debate we ensured that different perspectives and viewpoints were heard.”
“As a programme we are a forum for discussion and therefore never take a view on the comments made by our panellists or audience members. We do want to assure you, however, that all content that we publish adheres to the BBC’s editorial and legal guidelines.’
They also added that they were looking for ‘a range of opinions and views on every topic’ and that is was ‘therefore inevitable’ that there would disagreements on certain topics.
The episode also received some support for their decision to include the woman, mainly that of Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, who felt that it was right that had someone on who ’embodies mass sentiment’.
This isn’t the first time immigration has caused controversy on the BBC show, most notably in a 2014 edition in Barking, a similar row was sparked about the topic, with one member of the audience clashing with the panellists, including columnists and journalists Amanda Plattel and David Aaronovitch.