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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory