The campaign group Republic has today written to BBC’s new head of news, James Harding, asking for a meeting to discuss the broadcaster’s continuing and widespread pro-royal bias.

Republic has complained to Harding about the way in which the BBC covered the recent royal birth, saying the coverage ‘manufactured celebration’ and gave undue priority to monarchist views and commentators.

Graham Smith, Republic’s chief executive, explained that he hoped Harding’s recent arrival at the BBC would offer an opportunity for a change of course for royal coverage.

Graham Smith said today:

“The BBC stands accused of manufacturing interest and celebration over an event that was being exploited for political ends. This is a serious accusation and one that needs to be answered.”

“The BBC’s coverage of the royal birth fits a pattern of behaviour in which the corporation repeatedly ignores or downplays serious news stories about the monarchy, while giving undue and one-sided coverage to trivia and PR puff-pieces.”

“Just in the past two weeks the BBC has largely ignored accusations of direct lobbying of government ministers by Prince Charles and of Charles placing ‘moles’ in government departments. Meanwhile the broadcaster spends lots of time reporting on comments made by William about being a father and about photos of the Queen released by Buckingham palace.”

“My letter to James Harding specifically deals with the BBC News Channel, which was particularly appalling in its royal baby coverage. Yet this is a problem that covers the entirety of the BBC’s output.”

Included in the letter is an accusation of ‘manufacturing celebration’ over the royal birth. The letter says:

“Perhaps sensing it had misjudged public interest in the birth, the BBC resolved to manufacture a mood of celebration. Reporters told us that the “world was waiting” and that the country was gripped by “royal baby fever” despite all evidence to the contrary. A somewhat embarrassed reporter in Bucklebury assured us that, while the town’s inhabitants showed every sign of being oblivious to the birth, he could “almost hear champagne corks popping behind closed doors”. Outside Buckingham Palace, Luisa Baldini described a “huge crowd” before the camera panned to show around 200 people, no more than would be found on any other warm summer evening.

No doubt your producers and journalists believed this hyperbole created a more exciting viewing experience – especially after hours with no news. But it is not the BBC’s job to misrepresent the facts to make a story more interesting. Whatever the motivations, the BBC misled viewers and that is unacceptable.”

The letter goes on to point out that the BBC deals with other issues in a more balanced manner, issues on which the country is less divided:

“On other issues that the BBC readily classifies as controversial, public opinion is far less divided: 79% of people oppose ending immigration controls on Bulgaria and Romania , 80% support a referendum on the EU and just 22% support the human rights act . Yet these topics are still treated in a balanced way, with roughly equal representation of both sides. It is also worth contrasting the widespread media coverage received by Ukip – whose latest polling figure is just 9% – with that of republicanism, which has at least twice as much support.”