Former England footballer Gary Lineker, now a sports commentator, has clashed with British public television station the BBC and has been suspended, in a case that has sparked debate in the UK over freedom of expression.
The BBC has decided to suspend the participation of Lineker, a regular independent contributor (independent) on the weekend programme Match of the dayabout English football, since the former top scorer has expressed a personal opinion on social media against the UK’s new immigration policy, which provides for the forced transfer of people to Rwanda.
The former soccer player made two posts on Twitter about politics Submitted this week by Suella BravermanUK Home Secretary, Both on Tuesday (7 March)taking into account in the first “post-apocalyptic” new policy to try to stop illegal immigration to Great Britain.
Then, in response to a comment on this first publication, he compared the British government’s justifications for implementing the new policy with the same arguments used by Germany in the 1930s, at the height of the rise of the Nazi regime.
The government led by Rishi Sunak deemed criticism of the incumbent sports commentator “unacceptable”, and some Conservative MPs even advocated Lineker’s sacking as sports commentator, being praised for the clarity he helped bring to what the game had become. Celebrities all over the world.
Who is against Lineker and who supports him
Conservative Party deputy leader Lee Anderson called Linker’s second post “disgusting and despicable” because he “used the word Nazi in this context”.
“The BBC should move away from these types of comments and ask themselves ‘Is this the kind of commentary you would expect from presenters funded by your audience?’ Horrible”, Anderson wrote to me on Twitterthe same social network where all the controversies broke out and even affected BBC television programmes.
Former Director-General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, considered that the BBC, by suspending Gary Lineker’s cooperation, had lost its credibility because the station appeared to have acquiesced to government pressure.
“There is a long-standing precedent at the BBC that entertainment and sports presenters are not bound by the same regulations (journalists),” Dyke told BBC Radio 4.
The former director general of the BBC found Lineker’s publications acceptable because “we live in a world of free speech”. “He didn’t say it on BBC radio, he said it in a private tweet,” Greg Dyke confirmed.
The BBC imposes an obligation of neutrality on effective home staff and so far this rule has not only extended to freelance collaborators (for their private account) such as Lineker.
The suspension of the former striker called in other notable sports commentators, as well as former English strikers Ian Wright that it Alan Shearerfor refusing to take part in disrespectful BBC programmes, in solidarity, prompting British Public Radio to suspend this weekend Match of the day.
Ian Wright has confirmed, however, that he has no intention of returning to collaboration with the BBC if Lineker is permanently removed.
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