The BBC's Charter and its Producers Guidelines state:
...'Due impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC. All programs and services should be open minded, fair and show a respect for truth? [BBC reports should] contain comprehensive, authoritative and impartial coverage of news and current affairs in the United Kingdom and throughout the world??
From the ridiculous to the Cor' Blimey I normally make a point to watch QT, but seeing this week was from SA I gave it a miss. That the BBC imagine that the licence fee payer in the UK cares or is concerned more about what issues are going on there more than here shows just how the BBC agenda has really lost the plot.
Even this morning @10.00 I caught a few minutes on Radio4 and they were talking about Mandela's influence on sport.
I wish all those at the BBC would hurry up and join Mandela.
The show presented by David Dimbleby was broadcast from Johannesburg
Anti-apartheid campaigner MP Peter Hain flown in especially for the show
Sent home via Amsterdam in business class, but BBC refuse to say cost
Critics have accused corporation of wasting licence fee money
BBC has already received 1,695 complaints about its 'excessive' coverage
By Martin Robinson
The BBC spent thousands sending eight staff to South Africa for a special Question Time last night while Labour panellist Peter Hain was flown business class, MailOnline can reveal today.
Viewers have repeatedly slammed the Corporation's 'excessive' coverage of Nelson Mandela's death and last night the BBC programme presented by David Dimbleby was broadcast from Johannesburg.
Producers say the decision was taken to give Britain 'an insight into the personal and political views of people in South Africa in a way that would not have been possible in a broadcast from the UK'.
But critics have accused bosses of 'wasting massive amounts of money', and maintain the show should have stayed here.
MailOnline has learned that MP for Neath Peter Hain, a well-known anti-apartheid campaigner, was flown out at the BBC's expense to appear on the show.
He spoke alongside five South Africans including Pik Botha, the country's foreign minister during the 1980s.
Mr Hain was flown direct to Johannesburg from the UK and came home via Amsterdam. His journey from South Africa to Holland was in business class, the BBC admitted.
But they refused to reveal how much his flights, and the flights for the eight production staff, cost them.
Presenter David Dimbleby flew to the country with the wider BBC team after Mandela died, but it is not known which class he travelled in.
The Question Time set, cameras and other equipment was provided by the South African studio they rented.
Tory member of the culture, media and sport select committee, Philip Davies said: 'It just proves how overfunded the BBC is if they can spend money on this kind of largesse.
'The BBC is spending other people's money and that is why it doesn't matter to them. They are spending the money of many people who are struggling to pay their licence fee.'
'Rowdy' Question Time audience mark a change of tone for the show
Derek Sim wrote on Twitter: 'The BBC spend even more money in arranging Question Time in South Africa, why and for whose benefit? Certainly not us. What a waste.
@deffo55 wrote: 'Dear BBC, Why do you have Question Time from South Africa? Not relevant for the UK license fee payer....what a waste of money....shameful'.
The other panellists were Lindiwe Zulu, an advisor to President Zuma, Andile Mngxitama, a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters group in South Africa, Lindiwe Mazibuko, leader of the country's opposition party and Eusebius McKeizer, a journalist.
They were asked about issues like whether it was wrong to boo Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mendela's memorial on Tuesday and whether 'racism is over' in the country.
BBC bosses are already under fire after it emerged it sent nearly three times as many staff to South Africa than all of its rival British broadcasters put together.
After Mandela's death the corporation sent a total of 140 presenters and crew members to South Africa, while Sky News had the second highest number of the British broadcasters with 15.
The BBC said it expected to have deployed about 120 journalists, technicians and support staff to work on the story over a ten-day period. The BBC World Service is also reported to have sent a further 20 staff, whose expenses will not be paid for by licence-fee payers.
ITV and Channel 4 sent nine people to cover the event in South Africa, while Channel 5 sent four.
This week it revealed it had received nearly 1,700 complaints over its 'excessive' coverage and Ofcom has also been contacted by disgruntled viewers.
The BBC has defended its coverage and said Mandela's death was of 'considerable interest' to audiences in the UK and across the rest of the world.
A spokesman said: 'Nelson Mandela’s death was a hugely significant global story and the programme gave viewers an insight into the personal and political views of people in South Africa in a way that would not have been possible in a broadcast from the UK.
A team of eight production staff went to Johannesburg and all the set and equipment was locally sourced.
'Peter Hain was an integral part of the panel, bringing the UK government’s involvement into the wider story. We felt his inclusion was important and so we did pay for his flights but we kept costs as low as we could.
Touching on the number of staff the corporation has sent to South Africa, the spokesman added: 'Unlike other UK networks, we’ve been providing coverage across numerous domestic and global outlets from a number of different locations for TV, radio and online, including live broadcasts on BBC Two, rolling news on the News Channel and World News, BBC Breakfast, three daily news bulletins, coverage across a number of radio programmes and bulletins on 5live, Radio 4 and Radio 2. As always we sought to ensure maximum value for money.'
At present, the BBC is only answerable to itself in deciding its standards and coverage. How does it measure up to what you consider good quality, and impartial and unbiased reporting as required by its charter? All TV viewers in the UK are forced by law to pay for this 'service'. Do you believe that what is received truly 'serves' the society, - or merely increases the problems within it?
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