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BBC chided for pro-royals bias

Feb. 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM

LONDON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Critics of Britain's monarchy accused the BBC of pandering to the royal family while vetting guests for its upcoming documentary on Queen Elizabeth.

The anti-monarchy group Republic supplied The Daily Telegraph with a collection of e-mails from BBC executives they say proved the network wanted a positive spin on its BBC1 special "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Song."

"This is a disgraceful admission that they are clearly intent on excluding dissenting voices," Republic Chief Executive Graham Smith told the newspaper. "It is nothing more than censorship and is completely unacceptable."

The e-mails focused largely on a proposal to interview Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the special, which was shot down by the network due to her reputation as a "pro-republican" who might not be in tune with the complimentary tone they were seeking.

"In terms of providing a balanced view, we are very happy to expose the fact that Australia would like to be a republic, it is only that we are not interested in hearing a personal bad word against the Queen," said an e-mail from one of the producers from the production company Fulwell 73.

Gary Barlow, a spokesman for the BBC, said the documentary was meant to be an entertainment program rather than a political exercise.

"The BBC's commitment to exercise due impartiality across its output as a whole remains," Barlow told The Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper added the BBC has recently had to fend off criticism it was actually too left-leaning and anti-monarchy.

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