After BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)’s sports coverage was disrupted for the second consecutive day on Sunday, its director-general Tim Davie said that its star sports presenter Gary Lineker will be back on air with his Match of the Day program this weekend.
In a statement released on Monday, Davie announced an independent committee will be formed to review the channel’s existing social media guidance with full transparency.
“Impartiality is important to BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Character and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act. The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to its task. It should be clear, proportionate and appropriate,” the statement read.
Davie also stated that Lineker is a valued part of the BBC and he is looking forward to working with him this weekend.
Responding to the statement, Gary Lineker appreciated BBC’s decision and looked forward to getting back on air.
Gary Lineker is a former English football captain. After retirement, he joined the BBC as a sports broadcaster and ran the show Match of the Day which covered international football matches.
Gary is known for his strong political views that often land him in trouble with the government. On March 7 Lineker criticized the UK’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s immigration policy about stopping immigrants, on social media.
In his tweet, the 62-year-old described the policy as ‘awful’ and compared it to the Nazi regime. “Good heavens, this is beyond awful” to a video posted on Twitter by the British Home Office announcing the government’s asylum seeker policy. There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”
His tweet led to many coming heavily on him who said it was inappropriate and unacceptable. In order to control the storm, BBC suspended Match of the Day triggering massive walkouts by staff in solidarity.
There is mounting pressure on the top team to resolve the crisis after the BBC, which operates through a taxpayer-funded license fee, said it considered Lineker posting such views on social media as a breach of its impartiality guidelines.
UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told Sky News that he “profoundly” disagrees with Lineker’s comments, but stopped short of demanding an apology.
“The central thing that people want to know is that there isn’t any kind of political agenda in the way the BBC goes about its business, which I’m not saying there is, but that is the confidence people need to have,” he said.