Suspension of Britsh presenter Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker, former British striker and presenter of the popular British TV sports programme Match of the Day, has been suspended by the BBC after sending a tweet in which he denounced the British government’s plans to change asylum law as "immeasurably cruel". He said the use of language in the policy resembled the rhetoric of Germany in the 1930s. Lineker draws both declarations of solidarity and criticism in the commentaries.
An offside tweet
The Irish Independent defends Lineker’s suspension:
“The BBC has not said Lineker, who has close to nine million followers on Twitter, should be an opinion-free zone or cannot take a view on issues that matter to him. But the corporation has also said he should keep away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies. ... With his inflammatory reference to Nazi Germany, Lineker has crossed a line — or to continue the football analogy, he could be judged offside in some of the language he used.”
Let presenters present their views
The BBC should rethink its rules, writes columnist Andy Coulson in The Spectator:
“Invite Lineker to return immediately, take some time to understand and perhaps redefine your own impartiality rules and acknowledge quickly that you got this one horribly, horribly wrong. As far as impartiality goes, in my view it should be limited to those who work in current affairs where being unbiased actually matters. It does not matter on Twitter, especially when coming from the fingertips of a footballer presenter. If non news BBC presenters wish to get political then let them, as long as they make clear their views are their own.”