BBC banned from broadcasting disability benefit cuts protest in Parliament

The broadcaster was forced to terminate a broadcast from a protest outside the House of Commons chamber

Jon Stone
Wednesday 23 March 2016 15:51
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Norman Smith told to cut live broadcast due to disability protest

Parliamentary authorities forced the BBC to stop filming a live broadcast because the report showed disability benefit cuts protest in the background.

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith told viewers there had been “a protest by a number of disability protesters inside Central Lobby because of their anger…” before he was interrupted by a parliamentary official.

“Sorry, you’re going to have to stop. You can’t film with this going on in the background,” she said, appearing in-shot.

“It’s part of the rules and conditions of you using this area and you’re not allow to film.”

After a brief exchange in which Mr Smith protested, the live broadcast was immediately terminated mid-report and the BBC News channel cut to another report.

Dozens of people chanting “Cameron killer” protested inside Central Lobby near the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The protesters were from the Disabled People Against the Cuts as well as others.

The Government has U-turned on planned cuts to PIP but also already passed cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance benefit. The so-called Bedroom Tax also disproportionate affected disabled people, according to official figures.

Black Rod, the head of Parliamentary security, told reporters not to take or publish photographs of the protest.

Photography is generally restricted inside the Palace of Westminster.

Broadcasters have only a number of spots they can film from in the Palace of Westminster – including one in Central Lobby.

Both Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Green MP Caroline Lucas posted photographs of the protest anyway, despite parliamentary authorities’ rules.

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