12 April 2013 - 4:09pm | posted by | 0 comments

BBC says it will not ban Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead but confirms it will only play a clip on chart show

Controversy: Margaret Thatcher's policies continue to be divisiveControversy: Margaret Thatcher's policies continue to be divisive

The BBC has confirmed it will only play a clip of Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead on Radio 1 as the row over the adopted anti-Margaret Thatcher song continues.

Radio 1 broadcasts a UK music chart countdown every Sunday and the song is currently sitting in the top five of the singles chart after rapid sales in the aftermath of the former prime minister's death on Monday.

Earlier, it was revealed that social media mogul Jon Morter - who was behind the successful Christmas number one campaigns for the Hillsborough Justice Collective and Rage Against The Machine - was backing the effort and had offered tips and advice to its organisers.

The BBC said in a statement: "The BBC finds this campaign distasteful but does not believe the record should be banned.

"On Sunday, the Radio 1 Chart Show will contain a news item explaining why the song is in the chart, during which a short clip will be played as it has been in some of news programmes."

BBC director general, Tony Hall, added: "I understand the concerns about this campaign. I personally believe it is distasteful and inappropriate. However, I do believe it would be wrong to ban the song outright as free speech is an important principle and a ban would only give it more publicity.

"I have spoken at some length with the Director of Radio, Graham Ellis, and Radio 1 Controller, Ben Cooper. We have agreed that we won't be playing the song in full, rather treating it as a news story and playing a short extract to put it in context."

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper told Radio 1 Newsbeat: "It is a compromise and it is a difficult compromise to come to. You have very difficult and emotional arguments on both sides of the fence."

There has been mixed reaction among the public since the death of the Baroness Thatcher, with a number of street parties being hastily organised around the country after the news was announced.

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