Allegations of bias on BBC Question Time

Do claims of bias in BBC Question Time panel have merit?

Iain Collins

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Update: This analysis was referenced in The Economist.

The BBC has been fighting back against accusations of bias in the selection of political guests. Such accusations are not new, but do they have merit?

In an attempt to defend the impartiality of the show the BBC Press Team recently published a graphic reflecting the political alignment of panellists.

Unfortunately the graphic is a bit scarce on the specifics of what the sources and the beeb have declined to elaborate on it or provide the underlying data.

Without the underlying data, it’s hard to know exactly what the graphic actually represents.

Someone tried to obtain information about guests on the show from the BBC via Freedom of Information Act in 2018 — as someone else had one previously in 2010 — only to be rebuffed by the organisation, which cited an exemption in the regulations they felt didn’t require them to provide information as it fell under the category of ‘journalism, art or literature’.

This was disputed by the requester as not being in the spirit of the provision…

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