Green Party see red with petition against BBC’s ‘media blackout’ and ‘UKIP hysteria’ – nearing 40,000 supporters

A petition calling for an end to the BBC’s ‘media blackout’ against the Green Party has reached 39,000 signatures – and counting.

Portia Cocks, a member of the party’s youth group Young Greens, launched the petition on Saturday May 24 in reaction to the disproportionate coverage given to UKIP and targets the ‘almost complete absence’ of exposure given to the Green Party.

Thousands of people from across the country have felt that the BBC’s election coverage contravened the corporation’s responsibility to be politically impartial – and Portia believes the Beeb have been in bed with the anti-Euro party UKIP.

The petition founder Portia said: “The BBC seemed to be largely ignoring the Green Party altogether, preferring to focus on fuelling the hysteria around UKIP, at times appearing to run UKIP’s campaign for them. 

“This apparent refusal to talk about the most obvious UKIP alternative, i.e. The Green Party, flies in the face of the BBC’s commitment to fair and unbiased reporting.”

Manchester-born Josiah Mortimer, spokesperson for the Young Greens, said: “For a publicly-funded broadcaster with a remit for impartiality to ignore the Green Party to such an extent during the election period is shocking and disappointing.

“On top of the thousands who have signed our petition, dozens have complained directly to the corporation and are awaiting a response.

And Josiah believes the issue has transcended the bitter rivalry across the political spectrum as it comes in the wake of the ‘Green Surge’ in last week’s European elections.

“We’ve had hundreds of members of other parties sign the petition – regardless of affiliation, people recognise that it’s important our state broadcaster is balanced and isn’t wrapped up in the UKIP frenzy of other media organisations,” he said.

“We encourage everyone to sign and share the petition and to bring some sense to the BBC’s election coverage.”

The petition, BBC News: Stop this media blackout of the Green Party says: “We feel the BBC News coverage of the European and Local Elections has, to date, been unfairly biased against the Green Party.”

The Young Greens have pointed out that during BBC One’s Vote 2014 a representative from the Green Party was not interviewed until 2.30am, while members of the other four parties had been in the spotlight multiple times prior to the early hours.

And party leader Natalie Bennett struggled to get a look in.

They have also argued that their party’s move to fourth place, ahead of the Lib Dems, in the European Elections should have lead them to be treated as a major party and thus receive adequate coverage – instead they were only mentioned ‘sporadically and reluctantly’.

What has riled Portia, Josiah and the Young Greens most of all, however, was how the BBC ‘consistently lumped’ the Green Party in the ‘Others’ category and often removed it altogether from statistical evidence – they call this an ‘insult’ to the 1.2million members of the British public who voted for them.

Stockport Green Party Co-ordinator David Carter, who has signed the petition, told MM he believes that if the Green Party had received better coverage they could have gained more votes.

He said: “We saw on one of the policy comparison sites that when people tested policies blind the Green Party was found to have the most popular policies among 400,000 people who sampled them.

“Hence more coverage could easily have enabled the Green Party to score the extra 1 or 2 % required to win MEPs in certain parts of the country, such as the North West.”

The petition is now just a few signatures shy of its 40,000 target – and many who added their signature have been only too happy to explain their views.

Gill T wrote: “As a member of the Green Party, I felt totally snubbed by the British media – it was as if we didn’t even exist.”

While Luke P commented: “I’m a Labour member but its plain to see the attention has been disproportionate.”

Many others criticised the BBC for breaching their duty to be ‘fair, impartial and unbiased’ and are calling for a change. 

Noemi F commented that the BBC’s coverage was ‘a disgrace for democracy’, while Dave P wrote ’the BBC are supposed to report the news, not influence it’.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Our coverage of all parties in the local and European elections has been proportionate and consistent with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality.”

The petition can be found here.

Image courtesy of BBC via Youtube with thanks

Related Articles