21 January 2019
The BBC has been accused, by environmental campaigner Jon Fuller, of being part of “the biggest cover-up there has ever been in British history.” He made this comment during Extinction Rebellion’s national ‘Tell The Truth’ action which took place in London on Friday 21 December. Similar ‘Tell The Truth’ actions took place in other regional media centres - including outside the BBC’s offices in Manchester’s Media City, Salford Quays.
Among those present in Manchester were 9 Extinction Rebellion members from Cumbria. These included Helen Davison and Fiona Prior (Carlisle), Andy Mason and Gwen Harrison (Kendal), Allan Todd (Keswick) and Dianne Moyes (Cockermouth):
From L to R: Gwen Harrison, Dianne Moyes, Allan Todd (Keswick) - outside one of the BBC’s offices in Media City, Salford Quays.
In all, hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters peacefully blockaded six BBC centres around the UK, to highlight the BBC’s poor coverage of the climate and sustainability crisis that scientists are warning about. In London, at the BBC’s HQ in Portland Place, access to the offices was severely disrupted all day, as activists used super-glue and lock-ons, and BBC security went into lockdown.
Despite this, the BBC completely failed to report any of the protests - and there is some evidence that reporters and presenters were instructed not to mention them:
Some Extinction Rebellion protesters in Manchester - including some of those from Cumbria - having to make do with ‘virtual’ BBC presenters, as no one from the BBC was prepared to discuss the issues with them.
As evidence to back his accusations of deliberate cover-up, Jon Fuller mentioned the following:
• In September, the UN’s General Secretary stated that “climate change is now a direct existential threat” and that we are “facing the risk of runaway climate change.” Yet the BBC made no mention of this in its TV and radio news bulletins - and, although they put it on-line, they removed the words “direct existential threat”.
• Although the BBC reported on the IPCC’s call for global warming to be kept below 1.5C, all of the really frightening warnings and risks highlighted by the Report were deleted.
• When David Attenborough addressed the latest IPCC meeting, he stated that: “The collapse of our civilisations, and the extinction of much of the natural world, is on the horizon.” However, the BBC only reported his warning - more importantly, they failed to follow the usual more in-depth procedure of having their science expert examine and comment on such warnings.
• Having received many complaints, the BBC’s Director of Complaints stated that the BBC had not “breached our standards” - but, when a Freedom of Information request was presented, asking to see the guidelines given to reporters and presenters on how to report climate crisis news, the BBC blocked it and refused to release the information.
The conclusion that an increasing number of environmental campaigners are coming to is that the BBC is co-operating with the government in keeping the full extent of the Climate Crisis and its growing risks from the general public. This is in order not to frighten people as, if they were fully aware, they would demand that the government takes urgent action - which would, by necessity, conflict with the short-term profit interests of the dirty energy companies that this government is so close to.
As evidence of this, the BBC has only recently agreed - as a direct result of mounting public criticism begun by the Green Party’s Rupert Read - no longer to invite, as ‘balance’, onto programmes discussing climate issues, such ludicrous climate-change deniers as Nigel Lawson. This is despite the fact that it has long been known that Lawson is funded by a ‘think’ tank bankrolled by the fossil fuel industry!
As Jon Fuller has pointed out: “ If you don’t allow people to know the truth, you’re not giving them the chance to demand change.”
Thus the BBC must expect more visits from Existence Rebellion in the New Year - including in Cumbria - until they fulfil they duty, as a public broadcaster, to inform the people of the true situation, instead of just entertaining people and leaving them in the dark.
Published: Whitehaven News 2.1.19; Times & Star 3.1.19; Keswick Reminder 3.1.19.