Socialist Worker

BBC Newsbeat wrong on BNP

Issue No. 2185

The BBC has admitted it was wrong in its handling of an interview with two Nazis on the Radio 1 show Newsbeat.

In October 2009 the programme spoke to “two young guys who are members of the BNP” called “Mark and Joey”.

The interviewer didn’t challenge them when they said black footballer Ashley Cole is not “ethnically British” or even when they talked of his “coming to this country”, despite the fact he was born here.

Listeners were never told that these two were notorious BNP organisers Mark Collett and Joseph Barber.

Collett is the BNP’s publicity director and produces their monthly magazine Identity. He was caught on camera in 2002 saying that he admired Adolf Hitler. He has referred to Aids as a “friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it”.

Barber – also known as Joey Smith – runs the BNP record label Great White Records and organises fascist music events and fundraisers.

The BBC editorial complaints unit ruled that the programme should have said who the two were and that their racist views should have been better challenged.

The incident shows the danger of giving fascists a platform in the media. Admitting it was wrong cannot make up for the damage caused by allowing them to spout their racist filth.

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