Judge rejects appeal for judicial review into BBC’s ‘Remain bias’

Media trucks outside BBC Broadcasting House in London. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

Media trucks outside BBC Broadcasting House in London. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA. - Credit: PA

A judge has dismissed an appeal surrounding a former BBC employee's crowdfunded case that called for a judical review into the corporation over alleged Remain bias.

David Keighley, who was once a publicity officer for the corporation and now runs website News-Watch, claims that there is "systemic bias" in the BBC's reporting of EU news and claims that is has been "vigorously pushing the case for Remain".

The Press Gazette reports that he raised almost £60,000 from more than 1,4000 people last year to bring a judicial review over the BBC's "apparent failure" in impartiality on Brexit.

His case focused on reviewing the system that the BBC uses to monitor impartiality, arguing current practices were not adequate.

Thomas Roe QC, representing Keighley, said last year that the charter "requires the BBC to devise and implement a system for measuring the extent to which its news and current affairs output ensures the fair ventilation of all lawful views on matters of political controversy, and for reflecting on what these measurements show".

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Roe said that the BBC "makes no attempt to subject its output to measurement against the criterion of impartiality", and that audience surveys were not sufficient.

The case was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, with Lord Justice Singh claiming there were no prospect of success.

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"The BBC is under no obligation to adopt a certain methodology, this is a matter left to their judgment," he said.

"Furthermore, there is no basis for the argument that the use of audience surveys is an irrational measure to adopt."

The court heard how Ofcom had ruled in favour of the BBC over impartiality rules in regards to its news and current affairs coverage of Brexit on a number of occasions.

Writing on the "help us stop the BBC bias" crowdfunder, Keighley said he has to pay £18,000 to the BBC to cover its legal costs, but he planned to keep fighting the corporation.

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