The Media in Today's Press 26.10.09

The furore over BNP leader, Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC's Question Time programme last week looks unlikely to fade any time soon, with several of today’s papers still poring over the backlash….

Second-year Journalism student, Alan Robertson, who is studying at Strathclyde University, takes a look at the media stories making it into the pages of today’s papers….

The possibility of Griffin appearing on other high-profile programmes remains a distinct possibility, the Scottish Daily Express reports. BBC deputy director general, Mark Byford, praised the Corporation’s handling of the situation while adding that the BNP was “not banned from the airwaves” (page 15).

Byford’s defence of the BBC is supported by Times columnist, Libby Purves, who says: “Giving it (British National Party) an occasional outing on political programmes is the BBC’s duty” (page 24).

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 12-13) and The Daily Telegraph (page 6), however, report the reaction of BBC Radio 4 veteran, Sue MacGregor, who is critical of the BBC’s actions. ”I don’t think it was right to completely skew the formula to him and one issue. It either gave him a huge audience for his views, which I would not approve of, or it gave the impression of attack dogs against Mr Griffin,” the broadcaster says.

Meanwhile, the Guardian’s media supplement asks whether the flagship BBC1 current affairs programme was a success considering the show “is now being subjected to the same level of scrutiny that its guests are usually exposed to” (page 3 of MediaGuardian). Media consultant, Steve Hewlett, adds to the debate with a focus on the long-term consequences of the BBC’s dedication to impartiality. “If BBC executives fail to invite the BNP on to Question Time again this side of an election, they may well find themselves in court listening to their own words being played back to them,” he writes (page 4 of MediaGuardian).

In other media news, Gaelic TV channel, BBC Alba, could receive an extra £4 million to fund its launch on Freeview, the Scottish Daily Mail reports. A BBC Trust review will examine the switch after the digital station witnessed dwindling viewing figures (page 9).

The Independent says every UK radio station could be digital by the end of the year, with the BBC and the commercial sector in talks to develop a prototype system that could see up to 500 networks available to internet users via a single website (page 9).

And in the media section of today’s Independent, Stephen Glover comes to the defence of Daily Mail columnist, Jan Moir. “Jan Moir’s article may not have been very reasoned but much of the reactions was far more unreasonable, sometimes to the point of hysteria,” he says.

Other media stories:

* Government plans to introduce a 50p monthly broadband tax to ensure high-speed internet connection to every home have been criticised by the Conservatives – The Daily Telegraph (page 4).

* American investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Jack Nelson, has died at the age of 80 – The Scotsman (page 41).

* Personal details of some users of the Guardian’s UK jobs website have been put at risk after “a sophisticated and deliberate hack” on Friday night – The Guardian (page 11), The Independent (page 13).

* Nigeria’s anti-corruption police have joined forces with the world’s leading technology companies, including Microsoft, to tackle the country’s high levels of fraudulent e-mails – The Times (page 19).

* BBC, ITV and Sky are to commission remakes of '1970's favourites' in a bid to prevent further drops in viewing figures – The Daily Express (page 17).

* The first British Forces radio station in Afghanistan has been launched at Camp Bastion – The Independent (page 5).