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This referendum is not about leaving "Europe" - it is about our EU membership


Published Oct 20, 2015

Nigel_Twitter.jpegAhead of senior BBC executives, including Lord Hall, Director General and James Harding, Director of News and Current Affairs, appearing in front of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has written an open letter to the BBC Trust and Ofcom to ensure that the debate surrounding the forthcoming EU referendum is framed accurately.

Too often in recent months it has become normal for many political correspondents from the BBC and elsewhere to use to use 'Europe' as shorthand for 'the European Union'. Equally, it has been widely reported that those campaigning to remain in the European Union are deliberately replacing the name of the organisation with the term 'Europe'. To do so is inaccurate, given what Eurosceptics oppose is membership of a supranational political organisation, not fellow continental European nation states.

The EU Referendum debate is therefore not about whether Britain should remain in Europe, a geographic reality, but the European Union, a political construction. Furthermore, the Electoral Commission has suggested that the question be 'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’. As such, and as Nigel Farage's letter makes clear, reporting by the BBC and other broadcasters should reflect this deliberate selection of words.

Read the letter in full below:

Dear

The forthcoming debate and referendum about Britain's membership of the European Union is likely to be the defining political decision of this generation. As such it is imperative that the debate, and the reporting of that debate, is conducted in a fashion that is transparent, honest and with absolute clarity. We call upon the BBC and other news outlets to therefore ensure that the debate is framed accurately.

In recent weeks and months it has become normal for many correspondents to use 'Europe' as shorthand for 'the European Union'. To do so is inaccurate, and suggestive of a general dislike of our continental allies, when what Eurosceptics oppose is membership of a supranational political organisation, not fellow continental European nation states.

It has been widely reported that those campaigning to remain in the European Union are deliberately replacing the name of the organisation with the term 'Europe' for this very reason, and by doing the same, correspondents are inadvertently playing into the deliberate, dishonest framing of the debate.

The Electoral Commission has suggested that the question be 'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ I believe reporting should reflect this deliberate selection of words. The debate is not about whether Britain should remain in Europe, a geographic reality, but the European Union, a political construction.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Farage 

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