Nicola Sturgeon: BBC’s Gary Lineker decision ‘impregnable’ IG News

Irshadgul News report,

The outgoing first minister strongly criticized the move after Lineker, 62, compared the language used to launch a new government asylum-seeker policy with Germany of the 1930s on Twitter.

Ms Sturgeon said the decision to ask her to step back from presenting Match of the Day was “unconscionable” and “reduced free speech”.

His comments came after Greg Dyke, the corporation’s former director general, said the BBC had “undermined its credibility” by taking Lineker off the air.

Last night, Ms Sturgeon spoke out against the decision, tweeting: “As a strong supporter of public service broadcasting, I want to be able to defend the BBC.

“But the decision to take @GaryLineker off the air is inexcusable. It is undermining free speech in the face of political pressure – and it seems to always be right-wing pressure.

Saturday’s Match of the Day will go ahead without a presenter, pundit and several regular commentators after Lineker was asked to step back from hosting the BBC show.

Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC between 2000 and 2004 and former FA president, said the broadcaster was “wrong” to stand Lineker down.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the precedent in the corporation is that “news and current affairs staff are expected to be impartial, not the rest”.

“If you start applying news and current affairs rules to everyone who works for the BBC, where does it end?”, he said.

Read more: Gary Lineker ‘steps back’ from ‘Match of the Day’

He said: “There is a long-established precedent at the BBC, that if you are an entertainment presenter or you are a football presenter, you are not bound by the same (impartiality) rules.

“The real problem today is that the BBC has undermined its credibility by doing this because it appears – the perception out there – is that the BBC has bowed to government pressure.

“And once the BBC does that, you’re in real problems.

“The impression is going to be that Gary Lineker, a well-known television presenter, was aired following government pressure on a particular issue.”

Former England footballers and MOTD regulars including Alan Shearer and Ian Wright announced on Friday they would be boycotting the show in solidarity with Lineker.

Several of the show’s commentators also said they would withdraw from Saturday’s broadcast.

The BBC said the show would “focus on the action of the match without studio presentation or punditry”, adding that it understood the position of its presenters.

Lineker, 62, became embroiled in a controversy over fairness after he compared the language used to launch a new government asylum-seeker policy on Twitter with 1930s Germany.

The broadcaster said it had “decided” that Lineker would take a break from presenting the Highlights program until there was an “agreed and clear position” on the use of social media.

BBC director-general Tim Davey – who warned staff about social media use when he took up the role before updating guidelines on their use in late 2020 – was asked by BBC News why Lineker was sacked had not been.

Mr Davey replied: “I think we always want to take proportionate action and that’s what we’ve done.”

He said he would not “add” to the corporation’s current statement on the matter, but that “very constructive discussions” had taken place.

Responding to the exclusion of Shearer and Wright, the BBC boss said: “I fully respect people’s right to decide, and BBC Sport will have to look at the program they would normally produce for the weekend ”

The Daily Express reported that a group of 36 Conservative MPs and peers had signed a letter to Mr Davey calling for a full and independent inquiry into Lineker’s comments as well as a full apology “without reservation” from the presenter Was.

Ahead of the BBC’s announcement, former Manchester City defender Micah Richards and ex-footballer Jermaine Jenas – who were both not due to appear on MOTD this weekend – also backed their fellow pundits.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) will fully support any player who does not wish to carry out media duties with the BBC following Premier League matches in solidarity with Lineker and other pundits – who are former England internationals.

A number of players contacted the PFA for advice, and the union subsequently spoke to all Premier League clubs to establish collective standing.

On Friday, an online petition to reinstate Lineker to his post, organized by The Daily Mirror, reached 100,000 signatures within 10 hours.

READ MORE: Presenters’ row over asylum seekers explained

Philippa Childs, head of Bectu, which represents thousands of BBC workers, said Lineker’s decision was “deeply concerning” and “looks like he has bowed to political pressure from ministers”.

The row was first triggered by Lineker’s response on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed the government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats.

The former England striker wrote: “No big influx. We take in very few refugees compared to other major European countries.

“It is an extremely brutal policy directed at the most vulnerable in a language not dissimilar to the one used by Germany in the ’30s.”

Current BBC guidelines state staff are required to follow editorial guidelines and editorial oversight on social media in the same way as when doing content.

Lineker is an independent broadcaster for the BBC, not a permanent member of staff, and is not responsible for news or political content, so is not required to adhere to the same rules on impartiality.

Despite this, last year he was named as the BBC’s top-earning on-air talent for the fifth year in a row. He was paid between £1,350,000 and £1,354,999 for MOTD and Sports Personality of the Year in 2021/2022.


Most Popular