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found for her in the future. Now at ten o'clock Fiona Bruce will be here
with a round-up of today's news, but before that, Newswatch.
Hello, welcome to Newswatch with me, Samira Ahmed.
Interviewing the leader of the French Front National
on Remembrance Sunday, was that the right decision for
And in an item about road safety, should this BBC reporter have spoken
Last weekend's Andrew Marr Show, on BBC One, fell on Remembrance
Sunday and one of the guests caused quite a stir.
Before showing the interview with the President of
the Front National Party in France, Marine Le Pen, which had already
been recorded, Andrew Marr took on the criticism
Now I know this morning some people are offended and upset that I've
been to interview Marine Le Pen and that we're showing this
I understand that, but I would say this.
Le Pen could, under some circumstances, become the next
This week, in the immediate aftermath of the Trump victory,
she's declared that the whole world has changed and that her brand
In the end, we are a news programme and I don't think the best way
to honour the fallen is to fail to report on the next big challenge
Despite that defence, hundreds of viewers contacted
the BBC to voice their disapproval of the interview being broadcast.
The BBC has no place in offering this woman and her hateful views
a platform on its flagship political programme.
Le Pen and her party want to destroy all aspects of liberal democracy,
including tolerance, freedom of speech and freedom
of movement and these values are now under threat as never before,
The BBC should have used its editorial judgment to realise
that nothing and no-one was being served by offering
Le Pen, let me remind you, tried to sue for being called
a fascist in the French courts and lost.
When our very democracy itself seems under threat,
the BBC should not be fanning the flames of intolerance
TRANSLATION: Marine Le Pen being elected French President.
TRANSLATION: It's a global revolution.
I think it seemed a very respectful interview.
I mean, she was one of the sort of stars of that show almost.
She was built up, absurdly, she was given the oxygen
of publicity and, it seemed to me, a very respectful, very differential
interview and, to me, I didn't understand why
she was given a chance to air her views which are
Can Muslims be good French citizens and be welcome in
TRANSLATION: We're not going to welcome any more people.
That is not the question, I don't judge people
based on their religion, I'm not interested.
This was the one day of the year when we were supposed to remember,
respectfully, all those who gave their lives
fight fascism and here we were, on Sunday morning,
Remembrance Sunday, confronted with the sight of a woman
Lest we forget, I think Mr Marr forgot.
Well, the editor of the Andrew Marr Show, Rob Burley, is with me
Let's start with whether Marine Le Pen should have been
Well, we don't decide on the programme who is important,
in democracies voters decide who's important,
and in France, in the regional elections in 2015, Marine Le Pen's
In the opinion polls, ahead of the French presidency next
year, she's running first in many of them, with 30%.
When she last ran, she got six million votes.
So we don't decide that she's important, we interview people who,
because of their electoral success and relevance and potential in this
case to be the next French president, they are important
Whatever you think of their views, we don't make a judgment
on their views, if they're within the law, we do interview them
The timing, Remembrance Sunday, that's what a lot of people
I recognise that and I'm sorry people were upset by that
In the end, as Andrew said in the clip you showed,
the Andrew Marr Show is a news programme and the election
of Donald Trump on the previous Tuesday, had set a context
where things that had perhaps seemed unlikely,
his election, for example, and the election of Marine Le Pen
potentially as the French president, seem possible.
So, in that context, and I think the French Prime Minister has said
that her election as French president is possible.
We think it would have been wrong to try and to delay the airing
We're a news programme, we honoured Remembrance Sunday
We had a film about veterans and rehabilitation, we had
an interview with the Chief of the Defence Staff and we played
out with some music reflecting on the Somme.
So all of those things were in the programme,
but the programme on Remembrance Sunday has always included other
elements and, given what happened that week,
A lot of the complaints are actually about how
People felt she did not get challenged enough
and it was effectively a platform for her to spread her views?
I mean, Andrew Marr is not a Jeremy Paxman-style interviewer,
he has his own style, and, in that context,
he picked her up on her father's famous comments about the Holocaust,
he talked about Muslims in France, he talked about the funding
of the party by Russian money, and he talked about the dangers
of returning to the 30s, but also we chose to talk
about other things, which are really important,
if you consider she might be the next president of France,
namely Nato, the relationship with Vladimir Putin,
her attitude to the European Union, all of those things were really
important and we wanted to hear those as well and not every
interview with Marine Le Pen has to be the kind of definitive last
word on her attitudes on immigration and race.
It was right to raise them, we did that.
We had other things also on our agenda that we wanted to talk about.
But it was the most important issue arguably to talk to her
about and many people felt, - I mean, we saw that clip there,
where she was asked specifically whether law abiding Muslims
in France would be welcome under her presidency
and she completely ducked the question and said,
"we're not going to welcome any more.
Did not answer the question, was not picked up on it?
Well, I think people will judge whether what they think
of her and her attitude to Muslims in France and immigration and race
when she says - "stop, we're full up."
They may think that's evidence of an attitude towards those people.
We put the question, we put the question -
The point is, people are saying, if you support those views,
they felt that she's getting an easy ride and if you were concerned
about her views she wasn't challenged on them.
I don't accept that she wasn't challenged.
Andrew has a style where he wants people to express their views
and allow people to make a judgment, but he will challenge them.
He picked her up on a number of questions.
In fact, at times, she was unhappy and uncomfortable in the interview
and looked affronted at some of the questions
So I don't accept there wasn't challenge.
But this was not the definitive interview on her attitudes
That was in there, but there were other things
Vital things, if it's possible, as the Prime Minister of France
is saying this woman could become the President of France.
You're saying it's not the definitive interview,
but it's a very significant interview, it was
She seems to have been interviewed before any of the other French
So again viewers are asking, why was she on alone and why
It's not the first time she's been interviewed on the BBC
in recent times at all, she's done Newsnight at least twice
So we weren't doing something that hadn't been done before by BBC
outlets because of the reasons I outlined about her support.
On the question of the other candidates, Emmanuel Macron
was recently on the programme, in his role at that time
We have bids in for all of the other leader contenders for
You know, they don't all say yes, some others may yes,
Now, a few weeks ago, after a BBC News piece on the use
of mobile phones by drivers, we received complaints -
not for the first time - about the reporter speaking
We didn't have space to feature it then, but this week same
And the AA has also questioned the police commitment
Figures show that fixed penalty notices dropped from 30,000
to around 17,000 over the past two years.
But a number of viewers felt it was the BBC that deserved a fixed
penalty notice, and some of them recorded their
Incredibly and unbelievable journalist Duncan Kennedy was filmed
speaking to a camera positioned on his left while he was driving
which necessitated him taking his eyes off the road
People are being needlessly killed and maimed by such actions.
The BBC made a grave error of judgment in allowing this item
This could have caused a really bad accident.
In the clip, it referred to the lorry driver that killed four
people doing exactly the same type of thing.
The BBC should refrain from using these practices,
I've seen them done once or twice before, but on this clip to refer
to the crime and then do the crime, was hypocrisy.
Albeit it may have been a car park situation,
more chance of a person crossing the road in that situation
It's not OK to talk on the phone, but it's OK to talk into a camera!
Well, we put those point to BBC News, and they told us...
"The item was filmed in a quiet car park,
not a main road and no pedestrians were nearby.
I suspect you will, because since he left the BBC
and Top Gear last year, after he assaulted a member
of the production team, he and his colleagues have
been making a new car show for Amazon Prime,
called The Grand Tour, which has received a lot
of attention this week, not least on the BBC.
Last Sunday, Will Gompertz spoke to Mr Clarkson for the News at Ten,
and the interview was shown again on Breakfast on the News
And on Friday, the day The Grand Tour was released,
there were clips of the programme, and an interview, on Breakfast,
on top of features this week on other BBC outlets,
For Sheila McKenzie, it was all too much.
Thanks for all your comments this week.
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