Ken Loach slams BAFTA nomination of ‘discredited piece of BBC propaganda’

Panorama logo, BAFTA bust, and Ken Loach

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has made a shocking nomination. Speaking to The Canary, filmmaker Ken Loach called it a ‘disgrace’. And Jewish academic Justin Schlosberg stressed that, by essentially rewarding “a collapse in journalistic standards at the BBC”, BAFTA has ‘demeaned’ itself.

Referring to its highly controversial 2019 Panorama hit-job against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, the BBC proudly tweeted on 4 June:

In reality, many critics saw the Panorama episode as a ‘hatchet job‘ against Corbyn’s Labour. Of particular concern was the prior “record of public political hosility” towards Corbyn of the man behind it.

Schlosberg has been seeking “a formal legal challenge to Ofcom’s decision not to investigate complaints” about the programme. The BBC itself previously admitted receiving over 1,500 complaints about the programme in just under two weeks after it aired. And as Schlosberg highlighted:

This was the third Panorama edition since 2015 that was focused on, and wholly critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party. It contained gross breaches of the BBC’s legal commitment to due impartiality and due accuracy rules

Some considered the Panorama episode during the 2015 Labour leadership contest to be an “unrestrained character assassination” of Corbyn.

Read on...

Loach: “This nomination disgraces BAFTA”

Speaking about the BAFTA nomination, Loach told The Canary:

This nomination disgraces BAFTA, just as the programme disgraced the BBC. The film was widely recognised as a crude polemic, without balance or objectivity, intended to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Damning allegations went unchallenged, political allegiances of witnesses were not revealed, and the many Jewish Labour members and academics who had opposing views were excluded.

Now the leading witnesses, senior party officials, are revealed as plotting to wreck Labour’s election chances and remove Corbyn as leader. They used the language and tactics of the gutter. They were responsible for the very delays in dealing with disciplinary hearings, including cases of alleged antisemitism, for which they blamed Corbyn and his staff.

Did Panorama investigate any of this? Of course not. It didn’t fit the desired narrative.

Panorama claims to be the home of investigative journalism. The flagship of the Corporation. This programme failed on every count. BAFTA’s choice is a blatant attempt to rehabilitate a discredited piece of propaganda. It should fool no-one.

Schlosberg: “It marked nothing short of a collapse in journalistic standards at the BBC”

In a comment to The Canary, Schlosberg insisted:

This nomination is an insult to Jewish members of the Labour Party and the many Jews outside of it who simply never accepted what we now know was a manufactured myth: that Jeremy Corbyn or Jennie Formby had tried to delay, obstruct or otherwise rig antisemitism investigations in favour of those facing allegations. This was Panorama’s central thesis, in spite of reams of evidence to the contrary that was available to the programme-makers at the time.

Not only was the thesis wrong, it was an inversion of the truth. Leaked emails that surfaced prior to the programme’s airing showed repeated appeals from the leadership office to then senior party officials (and the programme’s star witnesses) urging them to expedite investigations and escalate sanctions. That Panorama got the story so badly wrong is one thing, but the refusal of both the BBC and OFCOM to give anything like proper consideration to reams of complaints beggars belief.

The programme helped to cement a dominant and demonstrably false narrative that was a major feature of the 2019 general election. It marked nothing short of a collapse in journalistic standards at the BBC and the nomination demeans the BAFTA awards.

BBC must give Labour Leaks equal air time

The Labour Leaks scandal, which Loach referred to in his comments, has also blown Panorama‘s narrative out of the water. As Schlosberg tweeted recently:

The BBC‘s coverage of the Labour Leaks scandal, however, has been woeful. Because there’s not been a fraction of focus on it as there was on the allegations it has discredited. Barely any of the journalists on the BBC‘s own ‘BBC News Official‘ list on Twitter have tweeted about the affair.

The BBC‘s visibly indifferent approach to the Labour Leaks scandal is particularly stark when you look at what current and former employees are now up to. Because John Ware (responsible for the 2019 Panorama episode) and former BBC editor Robbie Gibb recently joined together with others to rescue a publication at the heart of anti-Corbyn propaganda efforts.

If the BBC wants to show impartiality or balance, it must put a similar Panorama episode out on the Labour Leaks scandal. But given its clearly apparent pride in its 2019 hit job, and the fact that its new director general is a former Tory candidate, we shouldn’t hold our breath.

Featured image via Panorama, EG Focus, and Georges Biard

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a sh*t.

      It is pointless refighting the battles of yesterday.

      Was it a ‘stitch-up’? Has the racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia of the Tory party and other parties been covered over? Is the double standard unfair? Are the MSM biased? Does a rotten fish stink? Were you born yesterday?

      Draw a line under it. Focus on winning the battles of today and tomorrow. Otherwise the Left looks like a Monty Python sketch. Why give the Right a chance to mock us for conforming to their stereotypes? If you show your enemy your bruises, guess what, that is where they will kick you again, and again, and again. So, cover your bruises, and march onwards. Got it?

      Move on. There are more important battles.

      1. Which battles would those be? Oh constipated yellowbird.

        Yes it was stitch up. No the institutionalised prejudices of Tory propaganda are removed from comment because they reflect UKanian peasant culture. If the right stereotype me as a concerned human I’m ok with that, and if they mock me amongst themselves I remain unconcerned. If they concentrate on my bruises they reveal their strategy, I’m ok with that as well.

        Are you Sirkeir Starmer? Are you part of the imperial Labour Party of GB ‘shadowy elite’ that have been frustrating Labour policy for nearly a hundred years? Or do just like marching toward losing battles… PS Sirkeir? That’s a strange name. Is it foreign? We are making progress.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.