The new BBC Director-General should drop Chris Packham if he is serious about staff being unbiased on social media, the head of the Countryside Alliance has urged.
Tim Davie should sack the Springwatch presenter to ‘follow through’ with his call for impartiality online, Tim Bonner said.
Quoting a speech Mr Davie made today, Mr Bonner tweeted: ”’If you want to be…a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC”.’
He continued: ‘New BBC DG Tim Davie echoes exactly what I said about Chris Packham 5 years ago. Will he follow through?
‘In 2016 the BBC Trust said ”Packham was a freelancer & did not count as staff or a regular BBC presenter or reporter, nor was he working in news or current affairs, & thus was not bound by strict rules against expressing opinions on public policy issues”.’
The Chief Executive of Countryside Alliance added: ‘If that continues to be the BBC’s approach then Tim Davie’s words are worthless.
‘Unless the BBC is going to apply proper impartiality rules to all contributors, regardless of employment status, it might as well not bother.’
Within hours of Mr Davie’s speech, Mr Packham (pictured) took to Twitter calling for people to sign a petition and railed against a stag hunt
Tim Bonner (pictured) said Tim Davie should sack the Springwatch presenter to ‘follow through’ with his call for impartiality online
Mr Davie (pictured) had earlier told staff if they want to be opinionated columnists or a partisan campaigners on social media they ‘should not be working at the BBC’
Mr Davie had earlier told staff if they want to be opinionated columnists or a partisan campaigners on social media they ‘should not be working at the BBC’.
The new director-general, who took over this week, said the broadcaster needed to ‘urgently champion and recommit to impartiality’.
He insisted his drive was ‘about being free from political bias, guided by the pursuit of truth, not a particular agenda’.
His latest remarks have widely been seen as a swipe at woke presenters mouthing off on Twitter.
Mr Davie said: ‘We urgently need to champion and recommit to impartiality. It is deliverable and it is essential.
‘If you work here, nothing should be more exciting than exploring different views, seeking evidence with curiosity and creatively presenting testimony.
Mr Davie’s (pictured) latest remarks have widely been seen as a swipe at woke presenters mouthing off on Twitter
‘Making use of our own experiences but not driven by our personal agendas. I wonder if some people worry that impartiality could be a little dull.
‘To be clear, this is not about abandoning democratic values such as championing fair debate or an abhorrence of racism.
‘But it is about being free from political bias, guided by the pursuit of truth, not a particular agenda.
‘If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.’
Within hours of the speech, Mr Packham took to Twitter calling for people to sign a petition and railed against a stag hunt.
His first post said: ‘Unbelievably there is a loophole that allows people coming into Britain to bring with them 20 kilos of shark fins.’
He added with a link to the petition: ‘The petition below thinks we should close that loophole – I do too. #BanSharkFinUK.’
The wildlife campaigner later added another post saying: ‘You couldn’t make it up… and you don’t have to as a stag hunt is handed a taxpayer-backed £50,000 coronavirus loan and £10,000 grant . . . how many testing kits is that?’
Mr Bonner’s comments are not the first time the Countryside Alliance and Mr Packham have butted heads.
In 2015 he accused the BBC of letting the Springwatch presenter use the corporation to push his own views.
Mr Packham, an outspoken critic of fox hunting, had written an article for the BBC Wildlife Magazine accusing the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts of failing to oppose the return of fox hunting.
He also claimed conservation charities were ‘guilty of fence sitting’ when it came to looking after wildlife.
The CA, which campaigns on behalf of hunting, shooting and fishing groups, accused Mr Packham of abusing his position to promote ‘political propaganda.’