BBC should have campaigned against Leveson, says ex-Radio 4 journalist

Robin Aitken, a former current affairs journalist at the BBC, has said the corporation failed “to mount a robust campaign against Leveson” and has “done a great disservice to this country”.

Aitken, who spent 25 years with the BBC, including time as a journalist on Radio 4’s Today program, criticised the BBC for not fighting for freedom of speech and “robust… courageous journalism”.

Writing for the Times, he said: “The BBC’s track record over the past few years does not instill great confidence. It would not have broken the MP’s expenses scandal or the story on Asian gangs grooming young white girls for sexual abuse.

“Too often the BBC flagship news programs choose soft targets – not the big game. It is one thing to give a coalition minister a verbal roasting over some perceived ‘split’, quite another to take on vested interests with hard evidence as the newspapers did over MPs’ expenses.”

His comments come as newspapers in the UK produced an alternative charter for press reforms to that proposed by the government. David Cameron was due to enact the government’s royal charter into law on May 15 but has delayed the bill.

A poll conducted by YouGov showed that a majority of the public has little support for the press’s proposal of reforms. 73 per cent feared there is a risk that illegal practices will be repeated if the press’s royal charter is accepted.

In 2007, Aitken accused the BBC of liberal bias in the book Can we trust the BBC?

In his Times letter, Aitken warned that a press under regulation would make the nation more reliant on the BBC.

He added: “By failing to mount a robust campaign against Leveson the BBC has done a great disservice to this country. As a journalistic organisation it should be fighting with its every breath for freedom of speech, robust investigation, courageous journalism.”

(Sources: MediaGuardian)

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