BBC Claims Africans Demanding Insufferable Royal Wedding Countdown

The BBC’s World Service has been accused of an imperialist attitude after annoying international listeners with blanket coverage of the forthcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.Listeners complained about the broadcaster’s trailers heralding its ‘100-day countdown’ to the event, and making the boast ‘the BBC – the home of the British royal wedding’.Others feel the focus on the nuptials represents a dumbing-down for the channel which is known for serious international news.

One item, which saw the broadcaster asking Kenyan schoolchildren what dress they thought Miss Middleton should wear, was singled out as being reminiscent of the days of the British empire where royal events were used as propaganda.In the trailer presenter Mishal Husain is heard saying: ‘Join us for the start of our 100-day countdown as we bring you every detail right up to the big day.’Pressure group Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, accused the BBC of ‘institutionalised bias in favour of the monarchy’.

In a letter to David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, Republic said the BBC’s ‘fawning’ coverage of the monarchy since the announcement of the wedding has had the effect of ‘excluding, offending, disparaging and marginalising’ Britain’s 10 to 12 million republicans.It claimed since November, when the engagement was announced, the BBC News website had published more than 100 stories related to the royals, many of which ‘simply relay information provided by the Palace press office’.

On the World Service’s listener feedback programme Over to You, Dr Bella Bello Bitugu, a Ghanaian based in Austria, said he was disturbed by an item featuring Kenyan pupils.He said: ‘If they want to seek opinion on the royal wedding don’t go to the colonies and continue the perpetuation of mental slavery.’ Another listener, from Malta, said: ‘The BBC intend to inflict on World Service listeners another insufferable dose of tabloiditus with its countdown to the wedding.’A man from Berlin in Germany added: ‘Is this the BBC World Service, or the BBC royal service?’Jamie Angus, the BBC’s senior commissioner in news planning at global news, said it was about ‘getting the balance right’ and there will be ‘peaks and troughs’ in the level of coverage.He also claimed there was a strong interest from partners in Africa who were keen to hear about the wedding.

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