BBC's Chris Packham censured over angry bagder cull tweets

 

Naturalist Chris Packham has been censured by the BBC for
describing those carrying out the badger cull as “brutalist thugs, liars and
frauds,” in a tweet.

Packham, presenter of the BBC shows SpringWatch and AutumnWatch, sent the tweet a few days before the cull started in late August.

He was found to have breached BBC guidelines by tweeting about his views close to the start of Government trials to control the spread of tuberculosis in cattle by culling badgers in the south-west of England.

His tweet on 26 August read: “That brutalist thugs, liars and frauds will destroy our wildlife and dishonour our nations reputation as conservationists and animal lovers.”

He also sent other tweets on the same day protesting against the cull, such as: “We can forget about 'a nation of animal lovers'. Eco-genocidal and vengeful. We will be shamed globally as ignorant and savage.”

Another tweet on the same night read: "So I fear that tonight could be the darkest for British wildlife that we have witnessed in our lives.”

Packham, 52, is one of the best-known naturalists in the UK and is famous for sneaking song and film titles into his shows in a game called "hide the title" he plays with his fans.

According to the Telegraph Simon Hart, a Conservative MP and a former chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, complained in a letter to Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, that Mr Packham’s Twitter entries had breached BBC guidelines on being politically neutral.

Lord Hall told Mr Hart that “impartiality in our reporting and programming is … one of our core values” and he referred the matter to Tim Scoones, an executive producer of the BBC Natural History team.

Mr Scoones wrote in a memo “We do have a voluntary code of conduct in which presenters agree not to air their personal views on contentious subjects around the period when their programmes are being broadcast.

“While Chris’s recent programme [broadcast in August] – The Burrowers – did not touch on the badger cull issue, we accept that the timing of these tweets was not in the spirit of this voluntary code.

“We did also consider some of the language used in the Tweets to be intemperate and we have spoken to Chris about both these issues.”

The Government was recently criticised for its handling of the badger cull trials when it was revealed that they had not met their targets and an extension had to be granted. Earlier this week 10 members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons accused Britain’s chief vet of bringing their profession into disrepute.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat