While I am happy that the BBC has defended the strong words of wildlife presenter Chris Packham in its BBC Wildlife Magazine, it seems that it has double standards.
Chris Packham wrote in his regular column that conservation groups were ‘hamstrung by outdated liaisons with the “nasty brigade” and can’t risk upsetting old friends’ in the rural and shooting communities. When the new Countryside Alliance boss Tim Bonner ordered the magazine to sack him, Matt Swaine, the editor, told The Times: ‘Chris Packham is clearly expressing his own views in the column and part of the magazine’s role is to be a forum for exactly this kind of discussion.’
The BBC is of course absolutely right to defend free speech. However, this does not sit well with the BBC Countryfile Magazine‘s refusal to accept the Open Spaces Society’s leaflet as a paid insert last year.
Our leaflet highlighted the threat to open spaces, in part caused by a change in the law, told people of our past successes, and invited them to give £3 a month to help us save more. It featured photos of open spaces lost and won. It was clearly expressing our views and not those of the BBC, and it was written in polite language. But the BBC rejected it.
Is it one law for Chris Packham and another for the Open Spaces Society?