presenter returns to TV
Gary Lineker is returning to the BBC. The former footballer had been suspended Friday by the British public broadcaster after a fuss was raised over a tweet in which he called Britain’s new asylum policy incredibly cruel and compared the language used by the government to that of Nazi Germany.
“Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage next weekend,” BBC director general Tim Davie said in a statement.
Davie also says there will be a review of existing social media guidelines at the broadcaster. That review will be done by an independent expert reporting to the BBC. In it there will be “particular attention” to how it applies to freelancers who do not work for news and current affairs, such as Lineker.
The director general says the BBC and Lineker “welcome such a review.” Who conducts the review will be announced “shortly.”
No political views
Lineker reacts happily to his return: “I’m glad we’ve found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air.” The BBC’s current social media guidelines will remain in place while the review continues.
Lineker added that while he has had difficult days, it is incomparable to what refugees have to go through.
On Friday, the BBC indicated that Lineker off-air will remain until he “takes a consenting and clear position on the use of his social media.”
According to the BBC, the presenter’s Twitter message violated public broadcasting guidelines: Lineker had violated the broadcaster’s neutrality principle, according to the BBC. According to the guidelines of the BBC handbook, employees are not allowed to express political views on channel or social media.
Following Lineker’s provisional suspension, other sports commentators such as Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, as well as presenters such as Colin Murray and Mark Chapman, also decided to quit their jobs. As a result, the soccer program Match of the Day aired without the usual presentation, analysis and interviews with players and coaches. And without Lineker.
Lineker, in a response, now thanks his colleagues at BBC Sport “for the remarkable show of solidarity” and calls their support “overwhelming.”