BBC battles crisis as social media rules fuel mutiny

  • The BBC, the British public service broadcaster, reached an agreement with star football presenter Gary Lineker on Monday.
  • Gary Lineker, the organization’s highest-paid presenter, posted a comment on Twitter last week in response to the UK’s latest immigration policy.
  • The BBC considered the tweet breached its strict rules of impartiality.

Gary Lineker’s tweets and the BBC’s response sparked a public backlash and a weekend of disrupted sports programming as other presenters walked out in protest.

Hollie Adams/Stringer/Getty Images

LONDON — The BBC, Britain’s public service broadcaster, reached a deal with star football presenter Gary Lineker on Monday and pledged to conduct a review of its sports media guidelines after a dispute over impartiality .

The company said Lineker, a former England football player turned TV host and the organisation’s highest-paid star, will return to its flagship football show ‘Match of the Day’ next weekend.

Chief executive Tim Davie said the broadcaster would also launch “a study led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – into its existing social media guidelines, with a particular focus on how they apply to freelancers. apart from current affairs and current affairs”.

Lineker said via Twitter: “After a surreal few days, I’m so glad we found a way through this.”

He added: “I want to thank you all for your incredible support, especially my colleagues at BBC Sport for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their support has been overwhelming.”

Last week, Lineker posted a comment on Twitter in response to the UK’s latest immigration policy, which the BBC said breached its impartiality rules.

The comments led to Lineker’s suspension, a very public backlash and a weekend of disrupted sports programming on television and radio as other presenters walked out in protest.

The BBC’s response led to walkouts among Lineker’s colleagues, including Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Alex Scott, which disrupted sports programming on Saturday and Sunday.

The UK government has released a video of Home Secretary Suella Braverman outlining the new Illegal Migration Bill designed to stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats. Those people would be immediately sent back to their country of origin or a “safe third country” like Rwanda, Braverman said.

Lineker reposted the video, with the comment: “My God, this is beyond awful.”

The remarks led to a whirlwind of responses on social media, prompting Lineker to post a follow-up tweet describing the bill as: “An incredibly cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not different from the one used by Germany in the 1930s.

On Friday, the BBC suspended Lineker, who is employed by the broadcaster in a freelance capacity.

“We view (Lineker’s) recent activity on social media as a breach of our guidelines,” a BBC statement read.

The BBC apologized for the “limited sports programming” it was able to provide in their absence – including an abridged version of the flagship “Match of the Day” show without any commentators or panelists – and said that she admitted that would be “disappointing”. for BBC sports fans.

The BBC said: “We’ve never said Gary should be an opinionless zone, or that he can’t have an opinion on the issues that matter to him, but we’ve said he should refrain from taking sides on political issues or political controversies.”

BBC News reported on Sunday that talks between the BBC and Gary Lineker appeared to be “going in the right direction” with hopes the issue would soon be resolved.

Lineker could return to host “Match of the Day” next weekend, according to reports from British newspaper The Telegraph.

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