The BBC’s content is less politically biased than it previously was, the Director General of the corporation has claimed.
Mark Thompson also asserted, despite previous accusations that the corporation has been pushing for the legalisation of assisted suicide, that the BBC doesn’t campaign on political issues.
Speaking to the New Statesman Mr Thompson admitted that the corporation’s content had previously been heavily influenced by employees’ left wing beliefs.
He said: “In the BBC I joined 30 years ago [as a production trainee, in 1979], there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left.
“The organisation did struggle then with impartiality.”
However, Mr Thompson also claimed that there was now “much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC.”
And he said that the corporation now had an honorable tradition of “journalists from the right” wing of the political spectrum working for it.
Mr Thompson also denied that the BBC was involved in campaigning over certain issues.
He said: “The BBC is not a campaigning organisation and can’t be, and actually the truth is that sometimes our dispassionate flavour of broadcasting frustrates people who have got very, very strong views, because they want more red meat. Often that plays as bias.”
However, In February the BBC faced allegations of pursuing an “incredibly zealous” campaign in favour of assisted suicide from a group led by Lord Carlile.
The Care Not Killing Alliance accused the BBC of providing “biased” coverage on the issue, after it broadcast Sir Terry Pratchett’s lecture encouraging “euthanasia tribunals”.
Lord Carlile, chairman of the Alliance, said the BBC was breaking impartiality rules and adopting a “campaigning stance” to increase pressure on the Government to legalise assisted suicide.
The Peer is the most senior establishment figure to call into question the corporation’s reporting of assisted suicide.
Also in February a cross-party group of MPs accused the BBC of showing “persistent bias” in favour of euthanasia.
The criticism followed two programmes broadcast by the BBC on the same night which supported assisted suicide.
Over 20 MPs signed an Early Day Motion which accused the corporation of conducting a “multi-million pound campaign” to promote euthanasia.
The MPs, led by Conservative Ann Winterton, also charge the BBC with ignoring the rights of disabled people.