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BBC chief defends impartiality

The BBC has defended its impartiality after the director general of the corporation was photographed going into a meeting in Downing Street to apparently discuss coverage of government spending cuts.

Mark Thompson met one of Prime Minister David Cameron's senior aides to talk about offering prominent exposure to senior government figures on BBC channels in the coming weeks, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The meeting appeared to be an attempt by Mr Thompson to assure senior Tory figures that the BBC was not biased against the Government, the paper claimed.

The Daily Mail claimed the photographs showed Mr Thompson arrived at Number 10 holding a memo stating that the BBC was ready to put its coverage of spending cuts into "context".

Labour MP Michael Dugher, who was a senior aide to former prime minister Gordon Brown told the Telegraph: "The BBC should be standing up for its independence and should not be bullied by Cameron's aides with the threat of cutbacks."

A BBC spokesman said: "The director general has made it repeatedly clear that the impartiality of the BBC is paramount.

The director general in his role as editor-in-chief discussed the possible participation of a number of members of the Government in the BBC's coverage of the spending review this autumn.

"The BBC has regular meetings with both government and opposition parties. Both he and colleagues will also be talking to all the main political parties on this issue."


From Belfast Telegraph