BBC under race attack | india | Hindustan Times
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BBC under race attack

CRE is upset at the BBC patting its back for the fact that one in 10 of its staff is from an ethnic minority, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2004 20:54 IST

After the critical comments on its work by Lord Hutton, the BBC has now been criticised by Dr Raj Chandran, a Sri Lankan who served on the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) for eight years.

He is upset at the BBC patting its back for the fact that one in 10 of its staff is from an ethnic minority.

The BBC had announced last week that it had achieved the target of having 10 per cent of staff who were Asian or Black. Some of them like Meera Syal, Nina Wadia and Sanjay Bhaskar have become household names while Rageh Omar is now world famous for his coverage on the Iraq war from Baghdad.

But Dr Chandran said the BBC approach could backfire as it would cause resentment among other groups. He said the recruitment should be on the basis of merit, after screening for talent and skills.

The ethnic minorities account for 7.9 per cent of the overall population.

Greg Dyke, who just resigned as director general of the BBC over the critical Hutton report had however said two years ago that the corporation was "hideously white".

He was shocked to find at a Christmas party for senior managers that among 80 there was only one Black guest.

The present chairman of the CRE, Trevor Phillips, had in fact complained that all 20 of the most senior executives were white.

The BBC has justified its recruitment policy. A spokesperson said that 60 per cent of BBC's workforce was based in London which has a much greater ethnic than in other parts of Britain.