October 15, 2009

BBC to vet BNP Question Time audience for anti-fascists

Audience members for the Question Time edition featuring BNP chief Nick Griffin are being rigorously' vetted by BBC producers to weed out likely anti-fascist demonstrators, it was confirmed today.

BBC bosses fear protesters could disrupt the recording of the programme, due to take place at the Wood Lane studios on 22 October. As well as filling out the normal detailed questionnaire, applicants to become audience members will also be checked for membership or involvement in organisations such as Unite Against Facism. Many are likely to be questioned personally and be asked to prove their identities on the door.

Unite Against Facism, which is planning a mass blockade of the BBC studios on the day, has also urged its supporters to apply to join the audience, putting a link on its website to the audience application form.

The Corporation has confirmed that it is working closely with the Metropolitan Police and Hammersmith and Fulham council to keep a lid on the protests. The council is concerned at the potential for disruption to local people and has asked the BBC to pay for extra policing, which the Corporation has rejected.

Today, the BBC said it would not discuss security issues ahead of the programme, which will also feature justice minister Jack Straw and black writer and academic Bonnie Greer. But a Corporation insider said: "Question Time has been going for many years and they have very tried and tested procedures for weeding out potential troublemakers which for obvious reasons cannot be aired publicly.

"But it is a very rigorous process. Because it is a programme which has featured cabinet ministers and others for whom security is an important consideration, the people involved in producing the programme are extremely aware of what needs to be done to make sure there is no danger or disruption from the audience."

Before being accepted, audience applicants are asked what political party they support, whether they back the leader of that party and their views on issues such as the Iraq war and Europe. Scotland Yard intelligence officers are also likely to be closely monitoring the demonstrators in order to head off any planned disruption.

Corporation sources have dismissed suggestions that the recording could be brought forward to avoid the protests, which are due to begin with a picket line at 9am on the day. Similar protests are planned at other BBC studios around the country. Question Time is normally recorded live at 8.30 pm, two hours before transmission, which also allows any disruption or interruptions to be edited out.

The possibility of moving the recording to another location has been considered and although ruled out at the moment, BBC sources have stressed the security situation is being monitored on a daily basis.

The source added: "What would be the point of moving it elsewhere when the Metropolitan Police has extensive experience of dealing with protests in London generally and outside the BBC in particular, where there are demonstrations over something almost every week. At the same time, the studios as Wood Lane are themselves a fairly secure environment, which is one of the reasons why the programme is being recorded there in the first place."

Most editions of the programme are recorded in public or significant buildings around the country, which would be less secure. It was also pointed out that given the large public involvement, shifting the programme to another studio at the last minute was a difficult proposition - and moving it sooner increased the likelyhood of the new location being leaked.

London Evening Standard


peewee said...

Absolutely Brilliant, BBC. You will be left with BNP supporters in the audience who will clap Cyclops's words at every juncture, giving the impression like a hijacked online newspaper comments section, that most people in Britain agree with the BNP.

I understand Stormfront have appealed for BNP supporters to fill the audience.

tequilasippa said...

One of the BBCs "tried and tested tactics" is to switch off the microphones, turn the cameras away automaticaly, and manhandle protestors Robert Mugabe-style out of the room.

berty said...

"Before being accepted, audience applicants are asked what political party they support, whether they back the leader of that party and their views on issues such as the Iraq war and Europe"......


They will thus ensure that half the audience are BNP supporters, to please the fash-friendly publically-funded BBC.

Wander if they are also going to allow EDL supporters into the recording hall, now they have started making death threats on Facebook, or will the BBC "accidentally allow them to slip through the net".

Brummie said...

Next Monday's Panorama is on the subject of racism in the UK, featuring a British Asian couple living on a housing estate (no idea where) over the summer months.

Would the BBC be seen by some as trying to atone for it's far right bias of recent months and its invitation to the UK's main apologist for Adolf Hitler onto Question Time?

Not as far as I'm concerned. My grandfather fought against the Nazis on active service in WW2 and that rumbling sound you thought was thunder was him turning in his grave.

NewsHound said...



Alfie Noakes said...

The BBC are going to let the bastard go ENTIRELY FUCKING UNCHALLENGED!!! And they'll make doubly sure he'll get an audience full of his bloody cronies to cheer him on.

Privatisation of BBC 1 and Radios 1and 2 must now be back on the political agenda and I shall be emailing Policymaking Unit at Conservative Central Office on this subject later today.

AndyMinion (BatsMan) said...

Bugger! I knew I should have applied! I fit the profile for Perfect Audience Member exactly: I'm not a member of anything (unless my 1978 "Lifetime Membership" of the ANL still stands...), and I look like I'm just a fat, ordinary, middle-aged bloke with no taste in clothes.

(Ironically, because I AM just a fat, ordinary, middle-aged bloke with no taste in clothes.)

I'd have been welcomed with open arms...

Anonymous said...

So, free speech for Nick Griffin, but not for Anti-Fascists

After the BBC's stupid fucking stunt with on Radio 1's Newsbeat, once again we have the BBC to thank for this

Anonymous said...

I believe the BBC are vetting out BNP supporters as well but I think they are rather optimistic to think they will be entirely succesful. We can't expect them however to allow committed individuals in who may dom inate or disrupt the program since Griffin is only one of five? on there.

Jamie The Antifascist said...

Wonder if the now right-wing fascist lovin' dump that was once the BBC will be checking for National Front, BNP, BFF & ROC memberships as well?

The BBC is politically impartial?
is it balls.

Anonymous said...

Brummie said - "that rumbling sound you thought was thunder was him turning in his grave."

Nice one. Well said.

Anonymous said...

So ......... is the BBC planning to have an all white audience....are they going to descriminate against anyone who wanst to attend on the basis of their race as they would probably not be a BNP supporter......Just asking!