Colum Eastwood writes to Commons committee with concerns about BBC NI

The SDLP's leader has written to the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Westminster committee.

The leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Colum Eastwood MP, has written to the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport committee with concerns about BBC Northern Ireland.

The MP for Foyle has asked the committee to investigate “serious editorial and governance issues”, as reported by BBC News NI.

He also has raised concerns about the recent allegations made about BBC presenter Stephen Nolan.

The letter sent by Colum Eastwood has been seen by BBC News NI, it states that he is concerned by accusations of “inappropriate behaviour” that if left unaddressed, could erode confidence in management from staff, the audience and wider public.

There are a range of issues that he believes the committee should give their attention to:

  • “Editorial decision making which has led to a perceived imbalance in the output of individual programming”
  • “Concerns about the scale of the extensive platforming offered to fringe groups that far outweighs their representation and support in Northern Ireland”
  • “Governance concerns related to the management of independent production companies responsible for the co-production of BBC content”
  • “Commissioning of programmes and the implementation of content competitive tender processes”
  • “Issues of morale and organisational culture that have led to senior figures, particularly women, leaving the organisation following legal settlements”
  • “A perceived unwillingness by the management of BBC Northern Ireland to publicly address the catalogue of matters that threaten to undermine the integrity of the broadcaster”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We engage with politicians and stakeholders on a regular basis and would welcome any further opportunity to talk with the SDLP about the BBC’s work and the difference that it makes, and how fairness underpins our workplace policies, procedures and commissioning arrangements.

“We are accountable for what we do and ambitious for the service that we provide.

“All of this work is informed by the same editorial values and aspires to the same standard of excellence.

“BBC Northern Ireland succeeds on the basis of its hard-won editorial record, reputation and independence – none of which we take for granted.”

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