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24/03/2017
BBC Radio 4

    Am I the only BBC presenter who hasn't expressed his view about the present crisis at the BBC?

    Perhaps I should join some of my colleagues on Twitter so that you can enjoy my immediate, uninformed, and prejudiced response to events about which I know little. Actually I do have some understanding of what journalists in the BBC have been going through.

    I edited Tonight (the predecessor to Newsnight) Panorama, and Nationwide, and still have the scars to show from it. I also managed to get myself disciplined and ultimately fired, or as the Corporation put it, made redundant. (Of course later they re-employed me, in a different capacity).

    In my case it was over the coverage of the Troubles in Ireland.

    One row was about a programme that didn't go out, the other about one that did. Along the way there were arguments about lines of authority , who said what to whom, and the relationship between the journalists, the management and the Governors ( who have now become Trustees).

    There wasn't was much of an argument about the facts, only about whether and how they should be reported, and how independent of Government the Corporation should be.

    In all of the rows about who said what to whom, and whether the key attribute of a Director General should be the ability to put John Humphrys, the Beeb's "attack dog", back in his kennel, one principle needs to be adhered to ruthlessly.

    The BBC must always tell what it believes to be the truth to its audience, regards of how difficult or dangerous for the institution that is.

    If the BBC now pulls its punches in an attempt to see off its critics, then its existence should be questioned.

    I don't think it will pull back, at least not in the long term.

    All we can do here at Feedback is to guarantee not to censor your views, or to do private deals with BBC bosses and producers which protect them from answering your concerns.

    Which doesn't of course mean that the BBC always does what its audience wants , fortunately for Feedback.

    This week I went to the annual Radio Festival in Salford, to discuss what sort of relationship producers really want with their audience.

    Three of our listeners came with me: Paul Beckwith, Andrew Tonkin and Sandi Dunn.

    Feedback is off the air now until January, but please stay in contact. We read everything you send to us. That's another promise.

    Roger Bolton

    Roger Bolton presents Feedback on Radio 4.

    • Listen to this week's Feedback
    • Listen again to this week's Feedback, get in touch with the programme, find out how to join the listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
    • Read all of Roger's Feedback blog posts.

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