Nearly 50% of people think BBC reputation was damaged by Lineker saga

Samira Ahmed shares fans reactions to Gary Lineker ‘spat’

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The BBC is facing a reputational crisis, as an exclusive poll for the Daily Express has shown that nearly half of people think its image was damaged by the Gary Lineker saga. A poll, conducted by Techne UK, saw 48 percent of people say that the drama surrounding the Match of the Day Presenter has damaged the broadcaster’s reputation. Just 36 percent of people said it had not done so, while 16 percent said they don’t know.

Mr Lineker was taken off air last month, after facing a backlash for comparing the Government’s new migration policy to the tactics of Nazi Germany.

The BBC faced a wave of walkouts over the decision, with a number of its own presenters refusing to step in to replace Mr Lineker on the flagship Sunday football show.

It soon after returned Mr Lineker to Match of the Day, but Ofcom has warned that its reputation has taken a hit.

The chief executive of the broadcast regulator, Melanie Dawes, warned MPs the issue of impartiality “goes straight to the heart of that wider reputation beyond their news and current affairs coverage”.

She told MPs at a House of Commons Select Committee: “It hasn’t been a great weekend for BBC Sport fans and I think we are all glad to see that, hopefully, the BBC is moving beyond this episode.

“But clearly an episode like this goes straight to the heart of that wider reputation beyond their news and current affairs coverage.

“I think they need to do what they’re doing, which is to look at those guidelines and see whether they’re still right in a world of increasing use of social media, and look again at what they ask of contributors, as well as their staff.”

She added: “I think it’s been a really difficult episode for the BBC and I hope they can find their way through it, it looks like they have agreed for the moment a way forward.”

Deputy Conservative Party Chairman Lee Anderson previously told the Daily Express that that Mr Lineker should “reflect” on his views, noting that the Match of the Day Presenter “receives a large amount of money from the great British public – the majority of which do not share his views.”

Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries also celebrated Mr Lineker’s suspension, saying she was “delighted” with the decision.

She added: “I can’t see how they can continue with Lineker as a presenter. They are a Public Service Broadcaster which has to follow Ofcom guidance”

Earlier this month, BBC Director General Tim Davie apologised for the disruption to the BBC schedule during Mr Lineker’s suspension.

He also announced a review of the BBC’s social media guidelines in response to the row.

The controversy arose when, sharing a video from the Home Office featuring Suella Braverman on Twitter, Mr Lineker wrote: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”

As a BBC presenter, Lineker is expected to be politically impartial.

The broadcaster said it believed that his “recent social media activity” had been a breach of guidelines and that he should “keep away from taking sides on party political or political controversies”.

The Techne UK poll spoke to 1,626 people on March 22 and 23.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

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