Wednesday 3 July 2013

'Any Answers' - the screening filter

Many a complainant at sites like Biased BBC over the years would allege that programmes like the BBC's Any Answers were screening out people who expressed views the BBC didn't like, such as those holding anti-immigration opinions. 

Well, they weren't wrong - according to Stuart Prebble's report:
According to a former producer of Any Answers? who worked on the programme ten years ago, people ringing in to the telephonists who act as a first filter for the programme would probably have found that, if they said they wanted to come on air and say immigration was too high or was harming the country, they would not make it through to the next filter and on to air.
This was said to be partly a fear of having views that were considered unacceptable on the programme, and partly an understandable fear that contributors might go too far and say something which would cause offence – or indeed break the law. Andrew Green [of Migration Watch] would no doubt say that someone who argues against immigration levels should not be presumed to be racist, and he would be right. However, even regular and experienced contributors can say things live on-air that they might not say if given time to consider, and perhaps it is not surprising that hard-pressed producers would err on the side of caution and filter out views which might easily trip over the line of acceptability. The difficult question is always about where that line should be drawn.
So, there you go. Case closed.

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