BBC presenter rues lack of support

A British TV presenter has said he is disappointed the BBC was unable to support him after writing an article in which he called Arabs suicide bombers, limb-amputators and women repressors.

    Kilroy-Silk's article criticises 'oppressive Arab regimes'

    In an interview with a national newspaper, Robert Kilroy-Silk refused to criticise the BBC's decision to suspend his daytime discussion programme Kilroy while an investigation takes place.

    However, the former Labour politician said he felt let down by the international broadcaster since the opinions expressed in his articles "are nothing to do with … my impartiality on the programme."

    The 61-year-old presenter said he hoped the BBC would consider him "a good and loyal servant" who has "delivered the goods day in, week out, year after year, all year".

    Error

    Kilroy-Silk said his column in Britain's Sunday Express newspaper was reprinted by mistake after his secretary sent the wrong e-mail attachment.
     
    The article originally appeared in April last year. He insists his remarks were taken out of context and had not caused offence when they were first published.

    "These regimes are not based on democracy and their legitimacy comes from military dictatorships or inherited systems"

    Ibrahim Nawar,
    Head of Board Management, Arab Press Freedom Watch

    He has apologised, saying the column was originally written as a response to reports during the Iraq war that Arab states "loathed" the West.

    Last Sunday's article has sparked widespread fury and the matter has been referred to the police following a complaint by the Commission for Racial Equality.

    Free press support

    But not all Arab organisations have condemned Kilroy-Silk's remarks. Ibrahim Nawar, the Egyptian head of Arab Press Freedom Watch in London has broadly approved of the presenter's remarks.

    "I fully support Richard Kilroy-Silk and salute him as an advocate of freedom of expression."

    Writing in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper on Sunday, Nawar said he agreed with much Kilroy had to say concerning oppressive Arab governments – particularly in Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia.

    "These regimes are not based on democracy and their legitimacy comes from military dictatorships or inherited systems…I condemn the decision to axe his programme and call for the BBC to reinstate him forthwith."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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