Ken Loach urges Jeremy Corbyn supporters to flood BBC with 'bias' complaints

Posted On: 
16th September 2016

Veteran film maker Ken Loach last night urged supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to flood the BBC with complaints of “bias” against the Labour leader.

Film director Ken Loach rallied the troops at a Media Reform Coalition event
Credit: 
PA Images

At a rally in central London the Kes and Cathy Come Home director branded the broadcaster an “arm of the state” peddling “propaganda”.

And he warned Labour MPs against Mr Corbyn who might be fearing deselection they did not have a "job for life". 

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Supporters of the embattled Labour leader, who is on course to beat Owen Smith in the current contest to retain his job, have long complained of media bias against him.

Mr Loach twice read out the number for the BBC complaints line, telling the audience the mass movement behind the embattled leftwinger could use it to speak out.

“The first option you get will be 'do you want to make a comment?' - don't go there,” he said, to laughs from the crowd.

“The second one will be 'do you want to say something nice?' – don't go there.

“The third one will be 'do you want to make a complaint?' It's worth it – it makes you feel better. Give it a whirl.”

He added: “We have got to be prepared for every dirty trick.”

Mr Loach, who covers social issues such as poverty, homelessness and welfare in his films, rallied the crowd with scathing attacks on the broadcaster.

“The BBC is an arm of the state. The BBC is not some objective chronicler of our time – it is an arm of the state,” he argued.

“They have this pretence of objectivity where in fact it is propaganda on behalf of the broad interests of the state.”

He said the press was set against Mr Corbyn because he is the “first Labour leader since its inception that is a real threat to capital”.

And he lamented that policy announcements by Mr Corbyn, such as an end to privatisation in the NHS, the reopening of public libraries and the creation of 200 energy companies, went uncovered in the press.

Elsewhere, Mr Loach raised the spectre of deselection for MPs critical of Mr Corbyn, warning them: "It's not a job for life"

“Labour party members have the right to be repented by someone they choose,” he added, to cheers from the audience.

'HOSTILITY'

Chris Nineham, an officer of the Stop the War campaign formerly chaired by Mr Corbyn, launched his own broadside at the media during the event.

He said publications such as the BBC and the Guardian had become “organising centres for the opposition” against protest groups and the Corbyn campaign.

“They have gone beyond just reflecting prejudice towards generating antipathy, hostility and antagonism towards progressive politics,” he said.

A report by London School of Economics academics released in July found three-quarters of newspaper stories about Mr Corbyn at the start of his leadership distorted or failed to represent his views.

A second report by Media Reform Coalition, which organised last night's event, found sources critical of Mr Corbyn got double the airtime on TV than those supportive of him.

But a BBC spokesperson told PoliticsHome: “The BBC is editorially independent and our news adheres to clear impartiality guidelines.

"Our coverage of Labour remains impartial whilst airing views from both sides of the party’s ongoing divisions.”