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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 11:54 GMT
Kilroy quits: Your views
Robert Kilroy-Silk

TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk has quit the BBC after his talk show was suspended following his anti-Arab comments in a newspaper.

In a statement, Mr Kilroy-Silk said the time was right for him to leave, although his production company will continue to work with the corporation.

The former MP's programme was suspended following an article in the Sunday Express in which he referred to Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb-amputators, women repressors".

Critics had accused the BBC of gagging Mr Kilroy-Silk and he says he continues to believe that it is his right to express his views.

But Director of BBC Television Jana Bennett insisted presenters of his kind of programme had a responsibility to uphold the BBC's impartiality.

Was Robert Kilroy-Silk right to quit? Should BBC current affairs presenters be allowed to express controversial views?


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following reflect the balance of opinion we have received:

Your reaction:

We all need to make our views known
Robert Roberts, Mexborough, Yorkshire
All I want to know is why? I have met Robert Kilroy-Silk on his programme and he is the best presenter I have seen in this ever-changing world. We all need to make our views known and if we cannot do this then what is freedom of speech in this country worth?
Robert Roberts, Mexborough, Yorkshire

I am greatly saddened that Kilroy will no longer be entertaining me each morning with his ability to tackle difficult subjects with impartiality, strength and compassion. You only have to watch one of his shows to see that this gentleman is not a racist.
Cathy, South Yorks

Kilroy was the king of debate. I hope we don't see the American "on stage" formula for debates programmes in the future.
Linda Hopkin, Ashford, Kent

So much for democracy and freedom of speech. What's wrong with calling a spade a spade? Silk's comments were his view, sadly from recent times the images and actions of these people seem to reflect those views - The truth often hurts!
Stuart, UK

More politically correct witch hunting. Whatever one thinks of whether or not he is right or wrong it is a denial of free speech. It was a case of stating a view and I have yet to meet anyone who doe not have a view on one people or another. There was no incitement here. Typical of the modern so called liberal establishment showing its less tolerant tendencies, i.e. 'We are always right you are always wrong'
Nicc, HK

Let's not forget he made similar comments in an article for The Express in 1998 about Muslims. I was disgusted when i learned about that during my university years and that feeling has only grown through hearing his opinions since.
Hannah, Newcastle, UK

You should not say irresponsible things when you do a responsible job
Manzoor Adham, Windsor, England
Mr Kilroy-silk was right when he said "the time was right for him to leave". You should not say irresponsible things when you do a responsible job. All cultures offer some good things and owe each other something. For instance, the money Mr Kilroy-Silk has made, he counts them in "Arab numerals". Nobody commits suicide unless one is driven to it, either by gross injustice or evil aggression. If Thieves who mug old ladies knew they risked losing a hand, they would think twice and it would deter others.
Manzoor Adham, Windsor, England

Every one has the right to express his views about anything. That is free speech, but what if such views cause hate and anger? Is that still speech, especially if the views are untrue?
KUSI DAVIS, Accra, Ghana

I am absolutely delighted. Kilroy was dragging down the BBC and his appeals to the public over his position were becoming a bit of a rant. At least he has had the good grace to know when to leave the stage.
Anne, London

The BBC should be ashamed of itself for the way it treated one of its stars. How dare you suspend him for his views? I will never buy a licence again.
Briggsy, Wales

Kilroy is a victim of an attempt by the BBC to silence free speech, and the claim that it maintains impartiality is a shameful excuse by the BBC. I urge another television channel to offer Mr Kilroy-Silk a contract before we lose a great talent altogether.
David Stewart, Glasgow, UK

I have watched his programme for a long time
Anna, North Lincolnshire
I for one will be sorry to see Mr Kilroy-Silk leave the BBC. I have watched his programme for a long time and agree with a lot of what he says, so why shouldn't he be able to voice his opinions the same as everyone else does? I think everyone has overreacted about it all.
Anna, North Lincolnshire

It's all too repetitive, there are far too many chat shows and they all repeat the same topics year in year out. Scrap the lot, no-one's interested.
Mark, Leicester

The BBC should be congratulated for the actions they took regarding this issue. I hope RKS' decision to quit the show means that he understands why his comments were unacceptable, and how they could have been damaging to race relations.
Zabina Akram, Luton, UK

I am shocked by the BBC's decision to allow Kilroy to leave over comments he made about Arabs several months ago. What has happened to freedom of speech? If his comments were so bad how come nothing was said several months ago when they were made?
Colette Jones, Didcot UK!

The BBC has lost a brilliant and irreplaceable talk show host
Dianne, Leeds
I am glad and not at all surprised that Robert has quit his daytime show. The BBC has lost a brilliant and irreplaceable talk show host and quite honestly I think they will regret their actions of suspending his show.
Dianne, Leeds

I am so happy - perhaps now we can have a truly impartial presenter - and a fresh face.
Alee Stevenson, Birmingham

Though I never watched his programme I believe that his remarks were ill judged and made without thought. This error was then compounded by his trying to shift the blame to his secretary rather than accepting liability and seeking to make amends. In short his apology was too little too late.
Sav, Gloucestershire

The whole point of freedom of speech is tolerating someone else's right to an opinion. When this no longer happens, despite pretences it is gone for good.
Patrick, UK

A complete overreaction on all parts
Isa, UK
This is a complete overreaction on all parts. RSK's original comments were based on ignorance and lack of knowledge. The best way forward would have been for Middle Eastern scholars to engage him in a public debate.
Isa, UK

No loss. Poor show with self-centred presenter, interested only in his own views and opinions. Pity some other day time TV presenters wouldn't quit also.
Big Bill, Maidstone, Kent

I think if he had qualified his views on the contemporary Arab world by acknowledging that in the past the ancient Arab world had given us great advances in mathematics, language and literature, then he would not be in the mess he is in today.
Neil, M, London, UK

Perhaps the new show should be titled "Killjoy".
Chris Mccaffrey, Norwich, England

His show was dreadful but he has every right to express his opinion. What happened to freedom of speech? Seems like it is only available to a select few these days.
Maria, London

This is a great day for the BBC. They have demonstrated true courage in the face of completely unjustified media pressure. I will never understand how anybody can justify racism in the name of freedom of speech.
SS, Sheffield, UK

Free speech doesn't mean you can say things without expecting consequences
Jaydee, Hull, England
I suppose everyone will be moaning about free speech. Free speech doesn't mean you can say things without expecting consequences. If it did, we'd have no libel laws, and racism would be socially acceptable. I think the article was clumsily written, rather than outright racist, but that clumsiness has caused a lot of unnecessary offence.
Jaydee, Hull, England

I guess the martyr act didn't quite work. He really ought to concentrate on his suntan now and give us all some peace.
Mal, UK

He was right to quit. And Jana Bennett was right to say that this is not an issue of freedom of speech as his article painted a whole race without any qualification.
Saifullah Khan, Maidenhead

The BBC have lost something more than a TV host, they have lost their integrity and imagination. It would have been far more productive to have given Kilroy the chance to present a show on Islamaphobia and perceptions of Arabs states in the West. And vice versa.
Cathy Lloyd, London

One needs to be able to present oneself as an impartial mediator
Ben, Oxford
Completely right. This isn't a free speech issue, it's about being qualified for the job in question. To present such a show, one needs to be able to present oneself as an impartial mediator, a role he will now no longer be able to convincingly play.
Ben, Oxford

On a personal level, I'm rather disappointed that Kilroy won't be returning to front this popular daytime show. I liked his cheeky, straight talking style of presenting. Having said that, I think we have to recognise that his decision to quit is the only practical solution in this somewhat complex affair.
Nick Clayton, Lancaster, UK.

As a regular viewer of Kilroy and having seen numerous chat show formats I can say that without doubt a more impartial presenter has yet to be seen on TV. He is wrong to quit, will be very much missed and the loss to the BBC is a loss to us all.
John, Leeds,UK

Time for a change. The programme was not interesting and attracted many people whose lives and problems were best left undiscovered. We should be concentrating on achievement in industry and commerce and turning away from celebrities and the like. As for Kilroy, he said his bit and I could not see what all the fuss was about.
Geoffrey Bastin, Heathfield, East Sussex

It won't be Kilroy without Kilroy
B. Law, Wigan, England
It's a shame that Mr Kilroy-Silk has quit the BBC as I have for well over 15 years enjoyed and grown up watching his programme. It helped me to understand issues people go though in their daily lives. The show did have some topics I avoided like the diet and sex stuff but often it was very interesting. Although Mr Kilroy-Silk will still be involved in the making of the show it won't be Kilroy without Kilroy. Good luck to you sir.
B. Law, Wigan, England

I think he is entitled to express his views. Sometimes you need people to say things in a strong way. The usual bland, safe, PC correct debates do not stimulate the public, that's why we spend our lunchtimes talking about Z list celebs and not current affairs.
Jeff Sheridan, Dublin, Ireland

He was right to quit; his show was awful. Aside from that, BBC current affairs presenters probably shouldn't express controversial views in their presentation of current affairs. Elsewhere is their own business; they are neither the property nor spokespeople of the BBC when they air views outside their presenting posts.
AD, Scotland

He won't be missed whatever his reasons for leaving. The show was awful and he came across as way too much in love with himself.
Hugh, Scotland




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