The Green Party has pledged to challenge the BBC after it failed to award the party a single party political broadcast for 2016. In contrast the BBC has given three political party broadcast slots to UKIP.
On their Media Centre The BBC claim, “There are two criteria: the first is representation, for instance, holding a seat in the House of Commons, the European Parliament or the devolved institutions; the second involves a broader assessment of electoral support over a number of different sorts of elections.”
Based on that criteria, there is no wonder that Natalie Bennett, Leader of The Green Party, is “astonished” they have been denied “vital broadcast coverage”.
Green Party members have been quick to respond to the BBC on social media, and an online petition already has nearly 3500 signatures.
Natalie Bennet’s comments came after the BBC announced that it will be increasing UKIP’s number of broadcasts from zero to three, equal with Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats, but excluding the Greens, who will not have any party broadcasts.
The BBC decision, and the criteria for allocating broadcast time, fails to recognise that The Green Party quadrupled its vote in the recent 2015 general election, and currently has the same number of MPs as UKIP. The Green Party also has representatives in the European Parliament and many councillors at local level.
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, could barely conceal her anger at the BBC decision, and spoke for all Green Party members as she castigated the Corporation’s decision.
“After all that happened last year I am astonished that the BBC has chosen to deny us vital broadcast coverage” she said. “We have the same number of MPs as UKIP who have been granted three broadcasts. We quadrupled our vote share in the last election. We’ve grown as a party by more than three times in the last 12 months. I’m starting to wonder what exactly it is that we need to do to convince the BBC to grant us fair representation”.
Ms Bennett was supported by Shahrar Ali, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, who added: “The BBC is sometimes criticised for being too fond of repeats and I am certainly getting a strong sense of déjà vu. Only this time last year we were denied a place in the leaders’ debates”. He then went on to remind the BBC that, “a quarter of a million people were moved to sign a petition calling on broadcasters to change their minds and give us a spot. We’re certain that by challenging this decision and demonstrating the strength of our support we can do the same once again.”
The BBC can expect a response from Green Party members everywhere. The Party leadership are requesting an urgent meeting with the BBC to discuss their decision.
The party is also calling on everyone who supports a fair and open, democratic EU referendum, to sign the petition on the 38 Degrees website.