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>> News > United Kingdom
Blue Peter Presenters to Swear As Watershed Threatens Freedom of Speech - January 12th 2004

The BBC has introduced new measures following the public criticism of the corporation for axing the TV Presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk for expressing highly opinionated views on the Arabic states in the Middle East. Those most critical believed that Mr Kilroy-Silk was merely exercising his freedom of speech and that the BBC should respect that.

The BBC has stated that it believes the freedom of speech to be important and will thus eliminate all guidelines in place that threaten it.

First to go will be the 9pm Watershed that prevents the broadcasting of mature material being exposed to children. As from February 1st parents can expect the presenters of shows like Blue Peter and Newsround to use more colourful expressions such as: “If the papier-mâché f**ks up then wrap the c**t in sticky back plastic.” and “As for tomorrow’s forecast, take out your brolly as it’s going to be p*ssing it down”

From March 1st, the BBC intends to start broadcasting adverts. Although the state funding policy of the BBC prevents it from showing adverts the BBC’s lawyers have argued that this contravenes the freedom of speech rule.

People opposing the introduction of adverts have stated that if the BBC goes ahead with its plans to implement them then the TV License Fee that currently funds the corporation should be scrapped. However the BBC’s lawyers also have stated that in order to maintain concurrence with the notion that Kilroy should not have been sacked for his comments the funding should remain in place:

“People believe that Mr Kilroy-Silk’s exercising of his freedom of speech should be without consequence. Therefore, to maintain accordance with this belief the BBC should not lose the TV License Fee if it decides it wants to show adverts.”

The BBC has stated that those who have criticised their dealing with Robert Kilroy-Silk will be pleased with their future plans to allow complete freedom of speech, especially as freedom of speech was something Kilroy rarely allowed the speakers on his show.

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