Thursday, April 24, 2014

ITV's position is untenable - if this was a UK-wide referendum, everyone knows they would already have resigned from the CBI

Make no mistake - if the CBI had registered as an official supporter of either the Yes or No campaign in the AV referendum, ITV would have instantly resigned from the organisation without a second thought.  If they hadn't, then the pathetic excuses in the statement issued today would have been savaged in the press.  It is utterly untenable for a public service broadcaster to be a fully paid-up member of a partisan organisation - or at least it would be in the context of a "grown-up" UK-wide vote.  The one and only difference in this case is that the independence referendum is being seen by decision-makers in London as trivial and local, and they're frankly irritated that it should have any implications at all for them at a "national" level, even though they know full well that the logic demanding an exit from the CBI is inescapable.

We've been here before, of course.  In 1995, the BBC scheduled a lengthy interview with John Major for broadcast just days before the Scottish local elections.  When the decision was (successfully) challenged in court, they were asked whether they would have breached their requirements for balanced coverage in the same way if the local elections had been taking place in England.  They admitted they would not have done.

I wonder if legal action may once again be the only recourse?  If the current position is not overturned one way or another, I would suggest that every ITV report on the referendum should be routinely (and accurately) billed as being "from ITV, a broadcaster affiliated to the anti-independence body the CBI".


  1. Completely agree, and I shall certainly (on the rare occasions I mention ITV) do as you suggest.

  2. What about BBC's decision to "suspend" their membership of the CBI, "with the agreement of the CBI", but not until 30th May?

    A token move, allowing them to say they're doing the right thing while making no real change to their relationship with the CBI, and probably no real change to their behaviour.

  3. Where can we cloud fund a legal action?

  4. The CBI were only kidding though.