Tory chief makes bias complaint to ITC

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Indy Politics
THE chairman of the Conservative Party, Sir Norman Fowler, has complained to the Independent Television Commission over a World in Action programme called 'Tory Tax Bombshell', made by Granada Television and broadcast on the ITV network on 28 February.

The ITC says the complaint, alleging bias, is the first time the Conservative Party has called on provisions in the 1990 Broadcasting Act, which spelt out commercial television's responsibility to report impartially on matters of major public interest.

Sir Norman wrote to the ITC: 'This programme appeared to be in clear breach of the requirements of due impartiality set out in clause 42(6) of the Broadcasting Act 1990, and in section 3 of the ITC programme code.

'The clear purpose and intention of the programme was to undermine support for the Conservative Party. The title and graphics used by the programme are identical to recent material issued by the Labour Party.

'This claims that 'voters feel cheated' by the Conservatives and concludes by quoting someone who says she was 'an idiot' to vote Conservative. That is, and can only be seen as, an unbalanced conclusion to a deliberately partisan programme'.

The programme, devised by an investigative journalist, David Leigh, took the Conservative Party's election promises on taxation, and then went to three families in southern Kent who voted Tory in the last election, and worked out their new tax bills. It was watched by nearly 8 million people.

The ITC, which received the formal letter of complaint last Friday, will view the programme to establish whether the complaint is justified.

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