The BBC is facing a legal challenge over the way it monitors its impartiality amid accusations of biased coverage.
Crowdfunding group Stop BBC Bias is close to raising the £30,000 needed to seek a judicial review into the way the BBC meets its statutory obligation.
The case is being brought by ex-BBC producer and executive David Keighley. His News-Watch group has analysed the corporation’s coverage of issues such as Brexit for 20 years. The challenge comes as MPs urged viewers outraged at plans to scrap free licence fees for the over-75s to speak up.
People have until Friday to lodge their opinions with a group of MPs who will hold a public hearing this month.
Mr Keighley’s challenge is based on the fact that the BBC ensures impartiality by merely using two surveys of viewers.
“The idea that a small group of viewers in a survey thinks the BBC is impartial is different to it actually being impartial,” he said.
The second is a “nationally representative face-to-face survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, designed to understand the range of scores the public gives to news providers in terms of trust and impartiality”. Bias complaints are probed by the BBC, but can also be referred to regulator Ofcom. News-Watch wants a new independent body to monitor the BBC.
Mr Keighley said: “This is a publicly-funded organisation and we need an organisation outside the industry – so not Ofcom.”