The BBC sets the agenda on the Royal family (Republic)

Please note that I didn’t write this, but am reposting it from the campaign for a British Republic ( ). The headline is: ‘ BBC accused of blocking embarrassing royal stories

The BBC has been accused of operating a deliberate policy of ignoring or underplaying news stories that could embarrass the monarchy, while giving significant coverage to pro-royal “puff pieces”.

In the last six months the BBC, which employs a “royal liaison officer” to ensure good relations with Buckingham Palace, has overlooked a number of potentially damaging stories about the monarchy – despite extensive coverage in other national media outlets. These include:

Duchy of Cornwall accused of tax avoidance
Covered by: The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, Financial Times, The Daily Express
BBC coverage: none

Royal finances to be investigated by public accounts committee
Covered by: The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Sunday Express
BBC coverage: none

Prince Charles uses intestate cash to fund own lobby groups and old public school
Covered by: The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express
BBC coverage: none

A number of other stories – including the public accounts committee’s demand for the government to justify Prince Charles’s tax exemptions, revelations about the “royal veto” and the Queen’s £6m pay rise – received only fleeting coverage, despite being given high prominence by other media outlets.

In that time, however, the activities of the royal family – and in particular Prince Charles – have been covered in considerable detail by the BBC. Headlines on the corporation’s website over the previous six months include:

  • Prince Charles visits community shop
  • Charles and Camilla take Tube ride
  • Prince Charles: ‘I’m feeling very old’
  • Royal baby prompts green concern for Prince Charles
  • Prince Charles calls for more compassion in NHS
  • Prince Charles revives horse logging on Balmoral estate
  • Prince Charles urges ‘harmony with nature’
  • Prince Charles ‘worried’ for rural communities
  • Prince Charles visits Northampton shoe factory
  • Prince Charles visits Middleport Pottery factory

The BBC has also just announced a “Coronation celebration season” which aims to “bring the nation together this summer by allowing everyone to join in with the Coronation celebrations”.

Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith said: “When you look at the royal stories that the BBC covers and the ones it ignores, it’s difficult not to conclude that the corporation is at pains not to embarrass the royals. It will often send more than one reporter to a staged PR event, yet manages to overlook some really important public interest stories that licence fee payers have a right to know about.”

“Many of the stories the BBC has covered have all the hallmarks of PR puff pieces orchestrated by the palace press office – which the corporation seems eager to cover without the slightest concern for journalistic integrity.”

“If the BBC has the time and resources to report that Prince Andrew uses an iPad, then it can report on controversies surrounding the royal finances or Prince Charles’s political meddling.”

“The BBC is supposed to be independent, impartial and honest, but it seems to have been entirely co-opted into the royal PR machine. That’s why we’ll be protesting at Broadcasting House on Saturday – and why we’ll keep putting pressure on the BBC to cover the monarchy objectively.”

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