Complaints rejected on 'Free Palestine' edit

Mic Righteous Mic Righteous was on Charlie Sloth's Hip Hop show when he shouted "Free Palestine" during a rap

The BBC Trust have rejected complaints of bias concerning Radio 1Xtra adding a sound effect to cover the rapper Mic Righteous shouting 'Free Palestine' during a performance in December 2010.

In 2011, the head of editorial standards at BBC Audio & Music decided not to uphold a large number of complaints after the broadcast was repeated in a highlights show at the end of April.

He said the show's producers were not expecting Mic Righteous to make a political statement and if artists wished to express views, the BBC normally allowed this as a part of a range of other views from artists featured over time, in line with BBC impartiality guidelines.

He added that, since it was not obvious when these other views could be aired, the producers judged "it would be better to avoid getting into the subject of freedom for Palestine which was a contentious issue".

However, 12 complainants appealed to the BBC Trust against this conclusion.

After the Trust's head of editorial standards then responded that "it would not be appropriate, proportionate or cost-effective to proceed further", nine complainants asked for a review of the decision, saying that their main point that the BBC had "demonstrated bias against Palestinians" had been ignored.

They said that, because the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is factually correct and viewed as a breach of international law, there was nothing controversial about shouting "Free Palestine" and so the BBC did not have to be concerned about broadcasting a range of other views.

But, in January's editorial standards bulletin from the BBC Trust, the Trust's editorial standards committee says "the decision not to proceed with the appeals was correct" but it outlined that the BBC executive is "looking to learn from how the issue had been handled".

The January bulletin also outlines that the Trust is not upholding complaints about last year's Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Motherwell, when singing by some Celtic fans was referred to as "sectarian" by a presenter and studio guest.

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