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NI election: DUP's Jim Wells regrets going soft on BBC over 'biased' campaign coverage

By Jonny Bell

Jim Wells has said he regrets going soft on the BBC and should have gone further in his criticism of the corporation.

Throughout the election campaign, DUP figures attacked the public service broadcaster for its coverage.

During the final leaders' debate, screened on BBC One, Arlene Foster suggested the invited audience was not balanced.

However, host Noel Thompson stressed "no expense" had been spared on ensuring a balanced audience of members of each party and ordinary members of the public.

During last week's election coverage, Jim Wells made allegations on BBC Talkback about "biased coverage" by the broadcaster and that the audience for the debate was "very hostile" toward Arlene Foster.

He said the BBC was a "total disgrace" for the way it "relentlessly attacked Arlene but ignored the many mistakes made by her opponents".

"I was far too soft on the BBC during my interview and should have gone much further in my criticism of their actions," said Mr Wells.

"I wish to make it clear that I meant every word of what I said and wished that I had been even stronger in my criticism of the outrageous behaviour of the utterly biased BBC since December 6."

A BBC Northern Ireland spokesman said: "We have provided BBC audiences with detailed and comprehensive coverage of recent political developments.

"Our output has fairly reflected different viewpoints and provided an inclusive space for debate. We do not accept the suggestion of bias but will consider any complaint about BBC programming that is supported by evidence.

"Everything that we do is informed by the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines and the public interest.”

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