'IBA FAILING TO MAINTAIN IMPARTIALITY'
Scotsman – 27 September 1988
The Independent Broadcasting Authority has recently confirmed that, despite its "minority interests" status, Channel 4 is bound by that part of the 1981 Broadcasting Act which insists that "due impartiality is preserved ... as respects matters of political or industrial controversy".
This does not seem to have registered with Channel 4 itself. On September 15 (Battle of Britain Day, incidentally), it screened one of its "True Stories" presentations entitled "Arm in Arm Together". A more accurate description would have been: "A Communist Account of the Anglo-Soviet Wartime Alliance."
Introduced with the words: "Channel 4 looks back to a time when comrades were comrades", the programme centred on present and former members of the British Communist Party repeatedly condemning "the British ruling class" for distrusting the USSR, without once mentioning Stalin's pact with Hitler from 1939 to 1941.
The annexation of the Baltic States was likewise ignored as was the treacherous Soviet attack on Poland in 1939. That on Finland was mentioned, only to be excused on grounds of Leningrad's proximity to Finnish artillery emplacements.
Communist shop-stewards were praised for abandoning industrial disruption, without reference to their opposite policy prior to Hitler's assault on the USSR.
These examples can be multiplied – not one of them was challenged or balanced in any way, nor was the closing claim that it was Winston Churchill who in 1946 "launched the Cold War".
The IBA is thus clearly failing in its statutory duty to ensure the maintenance of "due impartiality", by allowing Channel 4 to screen unalloyed propaganda masquerading as "history".
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
The Media Monitoring Unit