“Radio 4 presenter Sarfraz Manzoor has blasted a former BBC executive for claiming that THE CHANNEL WAS ‘DUMBING DOWN’ BY TRYING TO GET MORE ETHNIC MINORITIES ON AIR. Manzoor spoke out after THE BBC'S FORMER HEAD OF CURRENT AFFAIRS, DR SAMIR SHAH, ALLEGED THAT RADIO 4 WAS LOWERING ITS STANDARDS BY HIRING BLACK AND ASIANS IN A BID TO ATTRACT A MORE DIVERSE AUDIENCE.The 'narrow social background' that happens to be the majority of the indigenous population, Sarfraz?
Manzoor, who presents the Saturday Review show… told OBV: ‘I don't believe that talent is only found in white, middle classes only. I don't believe [hiring ethnic minorities] will lower standards. Radio 4 is for the entire nation, not just the white, middle classes only’.
He said that decision-makers too often came from a ‘narrow social background’ that included attending the Oxbridge universities.”
“Dr Shah provoked controversy two weeks ago when he labeled Radio 4's efforts to recruit more black and Asian presenters as ‘embarrassing.’ Dr Shah, chief executive of the independent production company Juniper TV which make the BBC's This Week programme, said… ‘For someone like me, from an ethnic minority, my heart sinks. IT IS JUST EMBARRASSING.
The problem is that, without realising it consciously, or not, THEY LOWER THE BARRIER. And what happens to me when I listen to it, and it's an obvious ethnic thing, I worry that it's just not as good as it should be. AND BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL THIS PRESSURE TO REACH PARTICULAR PEOPLE, OR HIRE PARTICULAR PEOPLE, THEY DON'T HAVE THE SAME STANDARDS.’
But Manzoor, who has worked for the station for the past eight years, said… they just needed to hire more talent from these communities.
In 2009 Operation Black Vote has highlighted the lack of diversity among Radio 4 presenters after revealing that only two of the stations 100 regular presenters were Asian, and none were of an African or Caribbean background. The controversy led the former station controller Mark Damazer to discuss solutions with OBV's Simon Woolley. It was not clear what examples of 'dumbing down' Dr Shah had in mind when he accused Radio 4 of lowering its' standards, but some regular listeners have complained about a late-night newscaster with a slight Caribbean accent.
Former BBC radio presenter Dr Robert Beckford, a theologian who has worked with Dr Shah on a TV programme in the past, blamed the failure to hire black and Asian talent on ‘cultural illiteracy’ on the part of broadcasting bosses.
'IT'S INSTITUTIONAL IGNORANCE and that's the tragedy. You could have done a post-graduate degree but if you don't look and sound like them they can't see you', he told OBV.
However broadcaster Lindsay Johns has claimed that BAME communities are not under-served by Radio 4, pointing out ‘WE STILL LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHICH IS 94 PER CENT WHITE’…Ha Ha! Very well said, Lindsay!
CONDEMNING RADIO 4 FOR PRINCIPALLY REFLECTING THE CORE AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHIC OF MIDDLE ENGLAND IS LIKE DENIGRATING AFRICA FOR HAVING TOO MANY BLACK PEOPLE'.”
“That view is unlikely to impress many who complain that the BBC, and other channels, have failed to reflect Britain's diversity properly both on and off air.”True, the PC Crowd is never impressed by the facts.
Ah, but an over-hyped, over-promoted PC wagtail like Greg was always going to come out with creepy b***ocks like that.
“Critics argue that little has changed since the BBC's former director-general, Greg Dyke, labeled the organisation as being ‘hideously white’ in 2001.”
One third of the BBC’s staff in our big cities is of minority extraction and this isn’t 'good' in your world, Trev?
"Trevor Phillips, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who has previously threatened action against the BBC for not doing enough to employ BAME staff, said: ‘On employment, the pool from which the BBC draws two-thirds of its staff [in cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester] is one-third ethnic minority. The BBC under-performing. It's not hideous, but it's not good’.”
Master Philips seems to be suggesting that there are a lot more of his sort here than the politicians have been letting on. And, of course, the majority of the British people never wanted the Trevor Philips type here in the first place. One of the reasons being that, a little way down the line, we always knew they’d be having it away with all our bl**dy jobs!
I guess the fact that the BBC is one third ethnic would explain why Auntie has been getting so 'hideously' PC in the last few years. It would also explain, to use the admirable Dr Samir Shah’s own words, why the organisation has been 'dumbing down' and no longer has 'the same standards'.