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Greens’ NI considers ‘legal options’ for BBC election coverage

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The Green Party of Northern Ireland says it is considering legal action after it accused the BBC of banning the party from covering the general election.

The party, led by Clare Bailey, said it had filed formal complaints with the BBC and regulator Ofcom over allegations that the broadcaster instead gave undue prominence to the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) in election coverage.

TUV is led by Jim Allister, who was the party’s sole MLA before Stormont was dissolved ahead of the May 5 general election.

In the last election the Green Party NI won more seats in parliament and local councils than TUV, so it makes no sense for the BBC to treat TUV as a bigger party than the GreensClaire Bailey

The Green Party was represented by two MLAs – Ms Bailey and North Down representative Rachel Woods.

Ms Bailey accused the BBC of voting for “division and sensationalism” against the Greens’ “real alternative to the divisive policies of traditional parties”.

She said: “Our public broadcaster has a duty to be impartial, especially during an election campaign.

“However, the BBC has decided to give the smaller TÜV more coverage than the Greens’ NI, including an additional broadcast of party elections.

“In the last election the Green Party NI won more seats in parliament and local councils than TUV, so it makes no sense for the BBC to treat TUV as a bigger party than the Greens.

“In no other democracy would the main opposition party be excluded from election debates and other election reporting.

“We have made formal complaints to the BBC and Ofcom and the Greens NI is actively considering their legal options.”

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A BBC spokesman said: “We have a careful and detailed process for how we assess coverage of parties during election periods.

“This takes into account the relevant Ofcom requirements and the BBC’s own election guidelines.”

A TÜV spokesman also said that the coverage of the party as it stands does not reflect “our level of support”.

“The coverage TUV is reviving in the broadcast media is dictated by policy papers issued by broadcasters well before the election.

“The increase in support for the TÜV, which is reflected both in a sharp increase in the number of members and in many opinion polls, is public knowledge,” said the spokesman.

“That’s because people recognize and appreciate TÜV’s position on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“TÜV would argue that the coverage we received from broadcasters during the campaign does not really reflect our level of support.

“Recent polls have shown more support for TUV than Allianz did before the last election, and yet they have been included in key debates among leaders while excluding TUV.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/green-party-ni-considering-legal-options-over-bbc-election-coverage-41547405.html Greens’ NI considers ‘legal options’ for BBC election coverage

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