LETTER:BBC and bias: public perceptions counter Conservative fears

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The Independent Online
From Mr David Holmes

Sir: Whatever the Director-General may prefer, I hope that my erstwhile colleagues John Humphrys and the rest of BBC News and Current Affairs will stand up to the latest outburst of bullying from the Government of the day.

Years ago we were taught, more's the pity, never to say boo to the government goose; and ministers of both parties got away with murder. Political pressures on broadcasters, seen and unseen, are nothing new. And I doubt if today's pressures are necessarily more intense. But the pressurisers, and I have suffered at the hands of some of them, are a good deal less scrupulous.

Ministers have long been taught to decide what they want to say on the air and stick to it come what may. Only tenacious interviewers can call them to account. So let the professionals continue to stand up straight. And let the governors back them and not ditch them.

Yours etc,

DAVID HOLMES

Walpole, Suffolk

28 March

The writer was the BBC's political editor from 1975-1980.

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