Thursday, 30 April 2015
The BBC shouldn't behave like the arbiter of political debate in our city.
Green Party candidate for Stoke Central Jan Zablocki has expressed serious concerns about the exclusion of his party from an election debate broadcast on Radio Stoke today.
Represented on the programme were Tristram Hunt (Labour), Liam Ascough (Conservative), Zulfiquar Ali (Liberal Democrat) and Mick Harold (Ukip).
The presenter, Mr Zablocki said, inaccurately told listeners that all the candidates standing in the constituency were represented, there are in fact seven candidates including himself.
When challenged by a caller about the non-representation of the Greens the presenter said there wasn't enough room in the studio for them to be included.
This, Mr Zablocki said, is not what he was told by the station management when he asked why he had not been invited to take part in the debate, he was told the Greens had not been included because they had not polled sufficient votes in previous elections.
He said that he felt the party had been 'deliberately excluded' from the debate and that this was unacceptable from a radio station that 'repeatedly says it represents the people of Stoke.'
Mr Zablocki suggested the Greens could have been excluded because they 'do not believe in the austerity policies' favoured by the four parties included, adding that as a result 'people who share our views have been denied a voice.'
A spokesperson for North Staffs Green Party said 'it is massively disappointing that Radio Stoke has decided to exclude Jan from this debate, their reasons for doing so do not hold water.'
Mr Zablocki said the BBC were 'behaving like the arbiter of political debate in our city', a position he believes to be 'totally opposed to their remit.'
Mr Zablocki is to meet with senior managers from the radio station later today and may consider making a formal complaint.