It was in the news today that Graham Norton and his production team have been told off for wearing black ribbons in support of World Aids Day. The reason for this is that, according to BBC editorial guidelines, “The BBC must remain independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas.” Fair point. I can understand that while a particular campaign may seem very worthwhile and uncontroversial it is almost impossible to know where to draw the line.
However there is an exception to this…the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal which raises money for war veterans and is supported by every public BBC figure on all its domestic channels leading up to Remembrance Day. Surely the Royal British Legion is a charity and surely it’s poppy appeal is part of its agenda? I have done a quick google search but cannot see any comment on this from the BBC.
I understand that the poppy appeal is supported nationwide, almost without exception, but it does make you wonder whether the BBC allowing, and even insisting, the appeal is supported is part of some wider agenda. It was also revealed today that the BBC led Comic Relief have invested donations in weapons manufacturer BAE Systems. I wouldn’t want to draw conspiracy theory type conclusions from all this but it does make me sad that as a society we support war related charities and companies so easily whilst the causes that will not bring about money and power for the ‘powers that be’ are pushed down.