BBC censorship

While I'm posting on the subject of the BBC, let me show you a great example of their intolerance of dissent.

In August 2005, I posted on the FiveLive message boards a message complaining that they were covering Championship football when the second Ashes Test was coming to a tense conclusion. They moderated it away. I exchanged correspondence with them, and it was subsequently restored. Below is a copy of the email exchanges. The link to their messageboard archives still works if you want to view the thread. I will post each message as a reply, as the web-host seems to have trouble accepting this all in one go.




Subject: Your BBC Posting has been removed
Date: 7 Aug 2005
From: Five Live
To: Bruno Prior

Dear BBC Community member,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC community site. Unfortunately we've had to remove your Posting below because it contravenes the House Rules.

This decision has been made because it contains content that other readers may find offensive.

If you would like to re-write your contribution to remove the problem, then we'd be very happy for you to post it again.

If you have read the House Rules carefully and are still unsure why your message was removed, please reply to this email.

Best wishes,

The BBC Moderation Team

URL of content (now removed):

Not football already!

The second Ashes Test is coming to a tense conclusion, the World Athletics Championships are on, and 5Live are focussing on Championship Football. It's early August, for ****'s sake! Can't we have just a little break from the "beautiful game". Even when it wasn't being played, 5Live found ways to put gossip about transfers at the top of the Sports News agenda. Now it's going to be rammed down our throats continuously for another ten months.

There is no escape. TalkSport are doing football. The regional channels are doing football. The only other non-music channel (Radio 4) is doing drama. And it's always like this. Intelligent debate and varied sports reporting have been obliterated from national radio.

I really hope the BBC's charter is not renewed. They serve no useful purpose. Maybe we could hive off BBC2, Radio 4 and the World Service, as things worth paying tax for, but the rest should be dumped into the commercial world in which it seems to think it belongs. I'd love to see the braindead BBC execs trying to survive if they were really exposed to competition.

This e-mail, and any attachment, is confidential. If you have received it in error, please delte it from your systm, do not use or disclose the information in any way, and notify us immediately. The contents of this message may contain personal views which are not the views of the BBC, unless specifically stated.

From: Bruno Prior
Sent: 07 August 2005 19:25
To: fivelive.moderators
Subject: Re: Your BBC Posting has been removed

I assume the excuse for moderating this message was the "for ****'s sake", which has been deemed to be offensive. Of course, whether this is offensive would depend on what one substituted for the asterisks. If you chose to interpret it as offensive, you might want to edit your own assumptions, rather than my text. I can't help it if you can't get offensive words out of your own brain. For what it's worth, you could try inserting the word "Pete", which should not be too shocking to even the most sensitive of souls.

Of course, this may not be why the message was moderated, but I can't see any other reason under the House Rules. Unless it's that I'm offending against the prime religion of a number of BBC execs - football. I thought the phrase "He's a God" (with reference to favourite sportsmen) was a colloquialism, but perhaps it means something deeper and more sinister to you guys.

Come to think of it, the latter explanation must be right. You've removed the Subject line for the thread as well. I struggle to see how the words "Not football already!" could cause offence, unless you had a fanatical, nay mystical love of the game.

Not that I really care, or expect you to do anything, but it would scratch an itch to know what the grounds were for moderating the message. And I do mean it sincerely when I say that I hope they take your licence fee away.



Subject: RE: Your BBC Posting has been removed
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 11:59:54 +0100
From: fivelive.hosts <>
To: Bruno Prior <>

Dear BBC Visitor,

Thank you for your email.

This moderation decision has been reviewed by the messageboard Hosts and they have decided that your message does not break the Terms and Conditions of We have reinstated your message.

Apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused.

Thank you for contributing to the messageboards.

Best wishes,

Five Live Hosts