Television journalists at the British Broadcasting Corp. voted unanimously today to stage a 24-hour strike next week to protest the cancellation of a BBC documentary dealing with Northern Ireland.
The vote also called for the resignation of the chairman of the BBC board of governors, which agreed yesterday to stop the program after the government here charged it promoted terrorism and was "against the national interest."
The unprecedented board vote provoked a storm of political protest today, with opposition Labor and Liberal party leaders criticizing the government for censorship and the board for failing to maintain its independence and editorial integrity.
Television workers asked all BBC employes to join the strike. Meanwhile, the head of BBC's Northern Ireland operations, who had approved the program, resigned. He was said this evening to be reconsidering that decision.
The program contrasts two elected Northern Ireland officials -- Loyalist leader Gregory McCormick and Martin McGuiness, a member of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army's legal political front. McGuiness has been alleged to be the IRA chief of staff but in the show denies it.
Home Secretary Leon Brittan defended his "request" that the program be cancelled and said he "wouldn't have dreamt" of using his power to censor it.