Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BBC censorship overkill.

Over the last 48 hours I have submitted two artcles to the BBCs revamped 606 site.

My first article (Panorama asking the questions) relating to BBCs Panorama expose 'Football's dirty secrets' was pulled. Reason being? I was told the article had broken 'house rules'. The following extract was the reason given:

"*Break the law, or condone or encourage unlawful activity. This includes defamation and contempt of court."

I couldn't see anything remotely wrong with the article, so I edited it slightly and resubmitted the article.

Low and behold, the article was rejected again. Extract:

"Your message has been removed because of the ‘contempt of court’ section of the above House Rule.Once a suspect is arrested for an offence, or offences, legal restrictions apply. The 1981 Contempt of Court Act makes it a serious criminal offence, once someone's been arrested, to publish anything which could prejudice their trial."

At this point I was not only baffled but annoyed. So I called the BBC and eventually got to speak to someone in the sports department. He explained that the BBC had decided not to publish anything in relation to the Panorama documentary for fear of ramifications. It was later confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the article.
The hogwash from the moderator, was precisely that. Hogwash.

Today, I thought I'd try again and so I submitted a second article "The sack race.." (see below). In the version I sent to the BBC, I didn't mention Sam Allardyce by name, but incredibly they still removed the subtle hint about him at the foot of the article, they did this not once, but twice!

After complaing to the BBC via email, they eventually allowed me to include the last sentence, stating that the moderators were wrong. When I first submitted the article it was actually marked as a 'Manager's Pick' which is a minor accolade. This was subsuently removed and the article wasn't published where anyone would find it. No doubt because the moderators had been over-ruled.

The BBC were clearly fearful of Joe Public airing their own views on the excellent Panorama documentary, even though as I write this piece, the BBC's main sport site has 17 different articles about this subject. It smacks of the Kremlin and cold war Russia. No freedom of speech for Joe Public and heavy-handed censorship. IT's absolutely mind boggling.

I have pulled the second article myself now, out of disgust, and I have posted the article on here, free of censorship and all of that.

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