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BBC will not reveal fee for pundit Jude Collins who said Boys' Brigade like terrorists

By Staff Reporter

Published 03/06/2016

Jude Collins
Jude Collins

The BBC has been criticised after refusing to reveal how much it pays controversial commentator Jude Collins for appearances on its programmes.

Mr Collins came under fire this week after drawing comparisons between the Boys' Brigade youth group and dissident republicans.

He has regularly appeared on the BBC, leading to calls for the publicly-funded broadcaster to sever its ties with him.

The UUP said it was writing to BBC NI director Peter Johnston demanding to know if the licence payer is "sponsoring his diatribe", saying the BBC "needs to offer clarity on its support or otherwise for this unelected spokesperson".

The Belfast Telegraph questioned the BBC on how much licence fee payers' money was being used to pay for Mr Collins' appearances. However, the broadcaster refused to answer.

A statement from BBC Northern Ireland said: "It wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on the remuneration received by an individual contributor.

"We can, however, confirm that freelance journalists and others who are invited, or commissioned, to take part in our programmes are entitled to payment in line with our normal guidelines."

DUP MP Gregory Campbell believes the BBC must be more open and transparent when it comes to how much it pays staff, presenters and contributors.

"This is a long-running issue about the lack of openness on the part of the BBC," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Given that they get over £3bn per year from the licence fee payer, the public purse, they should be much more transparent about expenditure. Even more so when we are talking about someone as controversial as Jude Collins."

On Sunday, photographs were posted on Twitter with the comment, "Shocking images of children at masked march in Lurgan".

Belfast artist Brian John Spencer then shared the image on the social media site and Mr Collins replied with a photograph of a Boys' Brigade display and the comment, "A bit like this, then..."

Mr Campbell described Mr Collins' Twitter remarks and his subsequent contributions on BBC radio and television as "totally unacceptable".

TUV leader Jim Allister has also urged the BBC to stop providing Mr Collins with air time.

"As Collins demonstrated on Talkback (on Wednesday) that he is incapable of apologising even when he gets something so glaringly wrong, it is incumbent upon the BBC to stop providing him with a platform," he said.

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