On the day of President Obama's inauguration, The World Tonight, (listen here) did a special programme from Alabama where the civil rights movement was born in the 1950s.
Our presenter, Robin Lustig, talked to veterans of the civil rights movement about their memories of their campaign for equality, their reactions to the installation of the country's first black president and their views on where civil rights go from here.
Given that Mr Obama did not win Alabama in the presidential election and in fact attracted only around a tenth of white voters, we believed it was important to hear from people in the state who were not supporters of the new president. In fact, across the southern United States, only about half as many whites voted Democrat last November as in the previous presidential election when the candidate was John Kerry.
Many analysts in the US say the only logical explanation is that many southern whites find it impossible to vote for a black candidate. So Robin Lustig interviewed an activist with a right-wing group called the Council of Conservative Citizens who said he opposed Mr Obama's policies.
Robin went on to ask him if he had a problem with the new President's skin colour because the group he belongs to says it believes that Americans are a European people. The answer was that he regarded a black president as a "deviation" and he also said he would have preferred to live in the old, segregationist Alabama.
Some listeners found this interview offensive and have criticised our decision to broadcast it. One listener wrote: "It is unclear what type of editorial policy could possibly justify the decision to give a racist airtime."
We also received similar complaints before Christmas when we interviewed a BNP councillor in Barking and Dagenham during a report on the local economy.
I appreciate that some of the audience do find it unacceptable that we interview people with views they find offensive. However, if an organisation is legal, its comments conform within the law and reflect a view held by a significant number of people, in the interest of balance and accuracy we interview them when they are relevant to the story we are covering.
In these two cases, I believe both interviews were justified. The BNP is the second largest party on the council in the area we were reporting from; and the white activist in Alabama reflected a negative view of the new president which, judging by the voting patterns in the election, merited an airing.
The alternative is a form of self-censorship which is something, I'm sure, most of our audiences would not approve of.
Alistair Burnett is editor of The World Tonight.