Boris Johnson Moves to Boycott BBC Following Election Win

Boris Johnson - European Union Summit - H 2019

Days after the election win, the Conservative Party government has pulled its ministers from the BBC's flagship radio news show.

Just days after winning the U.K.'s general election, the Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party government has made moves that have alarmed media commentators who say they signal the prime minister's intentions to duck public scrutiny. 

The government over the weekend pulled its ministers from the BBC's flagship Radio 4 news program Today, with sources telling papers that it planned to completely "withdraw engagement" from the show in the future. 

The Conservatives pointed to what they considered a BBC bias against the party in the run-up to the election, in particular criticism of Johnson by its top political pundit Andrew Neil after he refused to be interviewed, and widespread coverage of a 4-year-old boy who was forced to sleep on a hospital floor due to underfunding of Britain's National Health Service. 

In another perceived attack on the BBC, the Conservatives have hinted that they could severely impact the public broadcaster's main funding model by decriminalizing nonpayment of the currently compulsory annual license fee that taxpayers get charged. The week prior to the election, Johnson questioned the license fee arrangement, saying that he was "certainly looking at it," while a minister on Saturday confirmed that they had been "instructed" to investigate the possibility of decriminalizing nonpayment.

During the election campaign, critics from the other side of the political spectrum argued that the BBC had a bias in favor of Johnson and against the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The broadcaster was forced to apologize after it edited out laughter from an audience when Johnson was asked about the importance of telling the truth and came under attack for putting Corbyn through an intense interview with Neil without having secured a time with Johnson.

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg has faced numerous calls to be sacked for tweets that critics said indicated bias toward the Conservatives. Days before the election, the BBC news website also came under fire for its coverage of research showing that 88 percent of the Conservative Party's online election ads contained false or misleading information compared with zero percent of Labour's, which simply came with the headline "Ads are 'indecent, dishonest and untruthful.'"