bfta

Battle for the Airwaves

bftazoomBattle for the Airwaves
Nick Robinson presents a series on the relationship between broadcasters and politicians - 8 Episodes
Producer: Rob Shepherd
© BBC Radio 4, 2013

Archivnummern: bfta(#)


Datei.mp3 Datum Inhalt Dauer
bfta1 25.02 1926 General Strike Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, begins a new series on relations between broadcasters and politicians: today, radio's early days and the impact of the 1926 General Strike. This first programme of the series shows how John Reith, the BBC's first managing director (and later Director General), resisted government pressure and maintained the BBC's independence, but at a price. The General Strike established the BBC as a major source of news, but its impartiality was questioned. In later programmes, Nick Robinson examines some of the key battles for the airwaves between politicians and broadcasters. In the second programme, he looks at the clash over foreign policy in the 1930s and the problems faced by Churchill and other critics of appeasement in making their voices heard. In the rest of the series, he explores the clash over the Suez crisis in 1956; the row between the Labour Party and the BBC in the early 1970s; the clashes over reporting 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, culminating in the broadcasting ban on terrorists; the Falklands War; Iraq; and the relationship between broadcasters and politicians in the age of 24-hour news. 13:54
bfta2 26.02 Foreign policy in the 1930s Nick Robinson continues his series on the relationship between broadcasters and politicians, In his second programme, he looks at the clash over foreign policy in the 1930s and shows how the maverick Churchill and other critical voices were kept off the BBC. But in wartime, Churchill went on to rally people by repeating his defiant wartime speeches on the radio and helped establish the BBC's worldwide reputation. In later programmes, Nick Robinson examine the clash over the Suez crisis in 1956, the row between the Labour Party and the BBC in the early 1970s; the clashes over reporting 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, culminating in the broadcasting ban on terrorists; the Falklands War; Iraq; and the relationship between broadcasters and politicians in the age of 24-hour news. 14:19
bfta3 27.02 Suez crisis of 1956 Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, continues his series on relations between broadcasters and politicians. In this programme he looks at the bitter clash between the broadcasters and Sir Anthony Eden, Prime Minister during the Suez crisis in the autumn of 1956. Eden wanted to exert greater control over the BBC during what he regarded as a national emergency, but the BBC saw Suez as being more of a political crisis. In previous programmes, Nick Robinson looked at the impact of the General Strike in 1926, and the clash over foreign policy during the 1930s and Churchill's wartime broadcasts. In later programmes, he examines the relationship between broadcasters and politicians during more recent crises - the row between the Labour Party and the BBC in the early 1970s; the clashes over reporting 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, culminating in the broadcasting ban on terrorists; the Falklands War; Iraq; and the relationship between broadcasters and politicians in the age of 24-hour news. 14:05
bfta4 28.02 Harold Wilson -'Yesterday's Men' Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, continues his series on relations between broadcasters and politicians. In this programme he looks at the battle between the BBC and Harold Wilson, the then Labour Party leader, over 'Yesterday's Men', a documentary programme broadcast in July 1971, a year after Labour had lost office to Edward Heath's Conservatives. Relations between Wilson and the BBC had been difficult for some time before the documentary was made, and this programme provoked a huge row. The title of the programme cheekily turned Labour's dismissal of the Conservatives as 'Yesterday's Men' against them, and Labour objected to some of the programme's content. Although the programme was broadcast, relations between Harold Wilson and the BBC never fully recovered. The documentary reflected a desire to make political coverage more entertaining and heralded further tensions between broadcasters and politicians. In previous programmes in this series, Nick Robinson looked at the impact of the General Strike in 1926; the clash over foreign policy during the 1930s and Churchill's wartime broadcasts; and the clash between broadcasters and the government during the 1956 Suez crisis. In later programmes, he examines the relationship between broadcasters and politicians during more recent crises - clashes over reporting 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, culminating in the broadcasting ban on terrorists and their supporters; the Falklands War; Iraq; and the relationship between broadcasters and politicians in the age of 24-hour news. 14:02
bfta5 01.03 1970s and 1980s IRA Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, continues his series on relations between broadcasters and politicians. In this programme he looks at the clashes over coverage of 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in the broadcasting ban on terrorist organisations and their supporters. Soon after saying that terrorists should be starved of the "oxygen of publicity", Margaret Thatcher, the then Prime Minister, learned that Martin McGuinness, a leading figure in Provisional Sinn Fein and a supporter of the armed struggle, had been interviewed for a BBC Real Lives documentary, At the Edge of the Union. The Home Secretary Leon Brittan, urged the BBC Chairman, Stuart Young, to cancel the broadcast. The BBC Governors viewed it and said could not go out. This was seen as government censorship and BBC staff went on strike. The programme was later broadcast with minor changes. In 1988, the Government banned the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of 11 Irish political and military organisations. However, the BBC used actors to speak the words of supporters of the banned organisations. In previous programmes in this series, Nick Robinson has looked at the impact of the General Strike in 1926; the clash over foreign policy during the 1930s and Churchill's wartime broadcasts; the clash between broadcasters and the government during the 1956 Suez crisis; and the row between the BBC and Labour over the documentary, 'Yesterday's Men'. In later programmes, he examines the relationship between broadcasters and politicians during other recent crises - the Falklands War; Iraq; and the pressures on broadcasters and politicians in the age of 24-hour news. 14:06
bfta6 04.03 Falklands War Nick Robinson looks at the controversies over coverage of the Falklands War in his latest programme on relations between broadcasters and politicians. The invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 was the biggest overseas conflict Britain had been involved in since Suez in 1956. Again, the BBC and the government clashed - this time over BBC coverage and also delays in getting TV pictures from the Falklands. The Task Force's long journey to the Falklands and the delay in receiving pictures prompted speculation about the campaign on radio and television. Newsnight appeared to cast doubt on official sources by saying, "If we believe the British" and referring to "the only damage the British admitted". Although the BBC argued that it had to guard its reputation for telling the truth, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher complained that, "There are times when it would seem that we and the Argentines are almost being treated as equal." More controversy followed when Panorama featured critics of the conflict under the title Can We Avoid War? But the BBC's Richard Francis stressed the importance of BBC independence: "When the Argentines claimed in the first raid on Port Stanley airport that they had shot down two Sea Harriers and damaged two more, the British Minister of Defence said none had been hit and the world wondered who was right. But when the BBC correspondent aboard HMS Hermes reported 'I counted the Harriers go out and I counted them all back,' the world believed." Eventually, footage from the conflict began arriving in Britain and the success of the operation gripped the country, but relations between broadcasters and the government had been severely tested. 14:05
bfta7 05.03 Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, continues his series on relations between broadcasters and politicians, from the early days to the present: today, the Iraq War and the most damaging political row in the BBC's history. He examines the clash between the BBC and the government that led to the resignations of the BBC's Chairman, Gavyn Davies, and its Director-General, Greg Dyke, and walkouts by staff. The Blair Government's decision to take Britain to war in Iraq over the apparent threat posed by its dictator, Saddam Hussein, was deeply controversial. After the invasion, as doubts grew over whether Saddam possessed any weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Today programme reporter Andrew Gilligan alleged that the Government 'probably knew' that its earlier claim that Saddam could deploy WMD within 45 minutes 'was wrong', even before they put it in the dossier on Saddam's threat. The Government rejected Gilligan's claim and Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's chief of communications, repeatedly demanded an apology. After the death of the BBC's source, the weapons expert Dr David Kelly, Tony Blair called an inquiry. The verdict of Lord Hutton's inquiry was damning on the BBC. The BBC Chairman, Gavyn Davies, and the Director-General, Greg Dyke, resigned. The BBC reformed its journalism and complaints procedures. No WMD were found in Iraq and MI6 withdrew its 45-minute claim. 14:06
bfta8 06.03 Present relationship Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor, concludes his series on relations between broadcasters and politicians by looking at the present day. In previous programmes, Nick Robinson has looked at the General Strike in 1926; the dispute over foreign policy in the 1930s; the Suez crisis in 1956; the row between the Labour Party and the BBC in the early 1970s; the clashes over reporting 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, culminating in the broadcasting ban on terrorists and their supporters; the Falklands War; and the Iraq War. In this final programme, he concludes by looking at the present relationship between broadcasters and politicians. 13:46

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