Radio silence’ won’t cut it around latest BBC revelations

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said that revelations about BBC presenter Stephen Nolan raise significant questions for the Corporation and Mr Nolan.

By Gregory Campbell MP

East Londonderry

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The DUP MP said, “The scale and significance of the revelations printed today, were they related to any other area of life in Northern Ireland, would undoubtedly be headline news across the BBC. ‘Radio silence’ just won’t cut it however in this instance. There are significant multi-layered issues that have been highlighted and all of which deserve a full response from the BBC.

Many people will obviously question the culture which appears to be prevalent within the programme where its presenter has sent unwanted sexual images to staff members. With the Online Safety Bill set to include a new offence of “cyberflashing” the public has a right to know whether this incident was treated with the level of seriousness it deserved by the BBC.

It is nearly six years since I led a debate in Westminster on BBC transparency, including around the commissioning process. We now learn that staff on a licence fee funded programme also worked extensively on another show co-produced by Mr Nolan’s private company. Such an option isn’t available to programme makers without access to ‘the inside’. If any other public sector contract was being handled in this way there would be understandable outrage and such revelations deserve a proper response.

Furthermore the BBC must address whether it has confidence in the editorial integrity of such shows when BBC staff are put into the Nolan “bear pit” to stir up controversial debate. Such tactics appear to be little better than a localised version of the “Jeremy Kyle Show”.

This ultimately is an issue of how public money is used in Northern Ireland and it deserves the same level of scrutiny and questioning, both from the BBC and other sections of the media.”

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