Thursday

19th Jan 2017

Farage praises BBC's Brexit referendum coverage

  • Nigel Farage on fire - taking up the challenge of debating journalism at the world's largest news conference. (Photo: EUobserver)

Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader and self-appointed scourge of the establishment, has praised the BBC's coverage in the run-up to Britain's referendum on EU membership as "fair and balanced".

He told a media conference in Copenhagen that the public broadcaster had done everything it could to be fair, apparently reversing earlier criticism of the corporation as "left-wing" and "dishonest".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Although he said since the referendum, the broadcaster had reverted to "telling us what a disaster Brexit would be".

The News Xchange conference in the Danish capital debated the low level of trust in established media, and the risk of "fake news" spreading on the internet.

The former Ukip leader told the EUobserver he was broadly in favour of the internet as "a wonderful check and balance on parliament and on traditional media".

But he warned: “If trust in traditional media completely disappears you could get dangerous ideologies - like national socialism or who knows - that catch fire on the internet."

He told the conference that mainstream outlets needed to readjust, move out of their "metropolitan comfort zone" and become more representative.

Who to trust?

Brexit campaigners and supporters of Donald Trump in the US presidential campaign sought to portray established media outlets as part of a liberal elite that was out of touch with ordinary people’s concerns.

The campaigns also saw a proliferation of new online media, some of which deliberately circulated fake news.

Before the US elections, the US news website BuzzFeed identified more than 100 pro-Trump sites being run from a single town in Macedonia.

The new trend shows no sign of abating as Italy heads toward a potentially destabilising referendum this week and as France and Germany prepare for elections next year.

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed reported that the 5 Star Movement (M5S), a self-styled “anti-establishment” party, also stood behind a network of blogs and other sites that spread lies.

M5S leader Beppe Grillo tweeted in reaction that BuzzFeed's inquiry was itself “fake news".

German chancellor Angela Merkel recently warned MPs that bots and trolls might try to manipulate the public debate.

The rumoured expansion of Breitbart News, a hard-right US website that championed Trump and that used to be run by Steve Bannon, now a senior Trump aide, into Germany ahead of the vote has also raised concerns.

Amy Selwyn, the managing director of the News Xchange conference, which is run by the Swiss-based European Broadcasting Union, told the Copenhagen conference the Western public was facing a “perfect storm” of disinformation.

She noted that 45 percent of the American public now saw Facebook as their main source of news, even though it is a tech firm that takes no editorial responsibility for content.

Amid the accusations and counter-accusations, Ulrik Haagerup, the director of news at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, said the big issue was an all round lack of trust in the authorities, the Church, doctors, banks, politicians and journalists.

"Without anyone to trust, your facts are as good as mine," he said.

Brexit men launch anti-EU website

Westmonster, modelled on hard-right US websites, said it was: "Pro-Brexit, pro-Farage, pro-Trump. Anti-establishment".

News in Brief

  1. Italy to hold 70% of Monte dei Paschi bank
  2. Nato hit by 500 cyberattacks every month
  3. Hundreds of migrants face German security review
  4. Outgoing US vice-president warns Europe on Russia
  5. German far-right party calls for end to WWII guilt
  6. First Chinese freight train arrives in Europe
  7. Europe has no vision, says Italian minister
  8. Juncker has 'slight doubts' on his group's convention idea

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. EU cannot copy Australia's offshore asylum model
  2. Brexit men launch anti-EU website
  3. Germany details its 'Marshall Plan' for Africa
  4. IMF predicts 'pain' for UK, as banks prepare London exit
  5. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  6. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  7. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'
  8. May's speech was not a war declaration, Malta says