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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 16:56 GMT
Inquiry into BBC 'pro-Euro bias'
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The BBC's coverage is under scrutiny
The BBC has commissioned an inquiry into whether its coverage of the European Union is biased.

The independent panel will investigate claims the BBC is "systematically Europhile" and has excluded pro-withdrawal voices from its coverage.

It will be chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson and include two pro-Europeans and two Eurosceptics.

The probe follows two earlier impartiality studies, into the BBC's religious and rural affairs coverage.

Public understanding

But the European inquiry is the first to be conducted by independent consultants rather than in-house.

It will also investigate whether "BBC coverage of the EU is seen too much through a Westminster prism with the result that significant EU developments go unreported".

And it will examine if BBC reporting has failed to "increase public understanding of EU issues and institutions and their impact on English life, therefore contributing to public apathy".

The inquiry team includes Lucy Armstrong, a business consultant, and Sir Stephen Wall, an adviser to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor - both considered euro-enthusiasts.

The eurosceptics are Rodney Leach, who chairs Business for Sterling and Nigel Smith, head of the No-euro campaign.

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