War veterans angered by BBC poppy ban

Author: By Arifa Akbar

The BBC is being accused of causing offence to war veterans by banning Remembrance Day poppies from its international channel.

The ban by BBC World came to light after a contributor claimed he was asked to remove a poppy before appearing in a television interview.

A spokesman admitted that there was an “unwritten” understanding that presenters would not wear poppies. But he insisted that guests were allowed to do so and said the corporation would apologise to the war correspondent who had been mistakenly asked to remove his poppy.

“Presenters on BBC World are very in tune with broadcasting to a worldwide audience and they don’t wear poppies because while some people abroad will understand the significance of the poppy, many will not,” he said.

Jeremy Lillies, from the Royal British Legion, said the poppy was an international symbol of remembrance that crossed religious and cultural boundaries. He said Tony Blair had worn a poppy in his lapel throughout his recent visit to the Middle East.

The ban by the BBC had “proven very offensive to ex-service people”, he said.

The BBC stressed its commitment to Remembrance Day and would provide extensive live coverage of events.

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