October 21, 2009

BBC Wales ‘No to BNP’ stance welcomed

BBC Wales has revealed that it will not be inviting the BNP on to its programmes, after an appeal from Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood.

In an email to Ms Wood, Rhodri Talfan Davies, BBC Cymru Wales Head of Strategy and Communications, wrote:
“The starting point in determining what sort of representation any party should receive on programming in Wales, for example Pawb a'i Farn (which we produce for S4C), is their past and current levels of political support. Other factors, such as consistent trends in opinion polls, significant changes in the political context, etc, can also be taken into account.

The BNP has not to date achieved political representation in Wales or other evidence of significant electoral support, therefore there are no plans at present to invite the party onto the Pawb a'i Farn panel.”
In Wales , the BNP only received 37,118 votes at the 2009 European election and had no MEP elected. While in England , two regional BNP MEPs were elected, and they received 879,310 votes and 55 BNP councillors were elected - the BNP have no county councillors in Wales.

In her correspondence with BBC Wales, Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood, who is a Vice President of anti-fascist group Searchlight Cymru, argued:
“My objection to a fascist political party appearing on BBC programmes in Wales is not simply because of the [different] electoral realities. The fascist BNP are not a normal political party. They are anti-democratic, racist and violent. For example, the party leader, Nick Griffin has been convicted of inciting racial hatred. The BBC not only has a duty to be politically impartial, but also to combat racism and promote equality. I ask you to confirm that BBC Wales will continue with its existing policy of not including the BNP on any political panel programmes in Wales.”
Reacting to the news that the BBC Wales will be taking a different stance to the broadcaster at a UK level, Plaid’s Leanne Wood added:
“I welcome BBC Wales’s stance. The BNP are a vile, racist party. They are also illegally constituted because they don’t allow non-whites into the party.”

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