A Young Green party petition against a lack of BBC coverage of the Greens has gathered over 30,000 signatures since Saturday night.
Portia Cocks, a Young Green member in Sussex, launched the petition at 6pm on Saturday after noticing the disproportionate coverage given to UKIP – whose 2014 vote share fell year-on-year in the local elections.
Thousands of people from across the spectrum have felt the BBC’s election coverage has contravened the corporation's responsibility to be politically impartial – largely ignoring the Greens coming ahead of the Lib Dems in the European election with three MEPs, and many gains in the local election. During the European election ‘Live 2014’ programme, a Green representative was not interviewed until around 3 o’clock in the morning – despite trouncing the Liberal Democrats in terms of votes and seats.
The petition reached 15,000 signatures on Sunday night, a day after its launch, and has gone viral.
Portia Cocks said:
“The BBC seem to be largely ignoring the Green Party altogether, preferring to focus on fuelling the hysteria around UKIP in the run-up to the election, at times appearing to run UKIP's campaign for them. UKIP's local election gains were not significant enough to warrant the level of coverage the BBC has afforded them in the days after the result. This apparent refusal to talk about a serious political alternative flies in the face of the BBC's commitment to providing fair and unbiased reporting.
“Green Party gains in the polls in the run up to the election, many placing them ahead of the Liberal Democrats, and talk of a ‘Green Surge’, were at odds with what was being reported by the BBC.
“As well as a major presence on councils across the UK, the Green Party have an MP, two seats in the London Assembly and a Green-led council in Brighton & Hove – none of these are privileges enjoyed by UKIP. A BBC spokesman recently stated that the coverage given to a party should reflect their level of representation, so in the lead-up to the elections the Greens should have been receiving at least a similar amount of airtime to UKIP.
“UKIP participate in a lot of scaremongering which is hyped up by the media, whilst sensible, positive policies such as those of the Green Party are ignored. There is a definite sense that UKIP would have made fewer gains had media outlets such as the BBC not given them such an unwarranted level of coverage. The response to the petition has been incredible, and demonstrates the growing frustration with the BBC's unbalanced reporting.
“The political views of the public should be represented fairly by the BBC, whether left, right, or centre. I hope this petition will remind them to report without bias in future.”
Josiah Mortimer, spokesperson for the Young Greens, said:
"For a publicly-funded broadcaster with a remit for impartiality to ignore the Green Party to such an extent during the election period is shocking and disappointing. On top of the thousands who have signed our petition, dozens have complained directly to the corporation and are awaiting a response.
"We've had hundreds of members of other parties sign the petition – regardless of affiliation, people recognise that it's important our state broadcaster is balanced and isn't wrapped up in the UKIP frenzy of other media organisations. We encourage everyone to sign and share the petition and to bring some sense to the BBC's election coverage."
The petition can be found here (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/bbc-news-stop-this-media-blackout-of-the-green-party/?state=sign), and complaints can be logged directly with the BBC here (https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/?reset=#anchor).