Anatomy of a Complaint…

1 04 2014

Category; Middle East, Media

 

 

bbc-1728x800_cGiven the interest in the BBC Trust’s recent upholding of my complaint – see here – I am sharing the documentation for the previous stages of the complaints process.

Here’s a short outline of the different stages you go through; I’ve broken it up into rounds (the BBC term for each stage is in brackets).

If you click on the heading it will take you to the relevant post, with attached documents:

Read the rest of this entry »





BBC Trust Ruling on Kevin Connolly

26 03 2014

Category; Middle East, Media

 

imagesThe BBC Trust has released its ruling on my complaint about a Radio 4 Today Programme report. As already noted the ruling confirms the report was inaccurate and misleading. See page 4 and pages 9 -23.

It is not clear what the BBC will do to ‘remedy’ the breach, nor what Kevin Connolly thinks about it all. His colleague Jeremy Bowen has rejected the last BBC Trust decision against him. It is difficult to see how Connolly can square spending almost three years defending what he considers to have been sterling work to be told by his regulator that it is in fact rotten journalism.

 

Click on the image to go to the report – or click here

Trust ruling





BBC in Denial

22 03 2014

Category; Middle East, Media

©AFP

©AFP

It’s not just what’s in the news; it’s also what’s not. The BBC has solidly ignored the speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader denying the Holocaust – reported here by AFP.

Instead they have a positive story on Iranian statements about the prospects for a nuclear deal, with a photograph of the smiling Foreign Minister – see here.
At a time when the well turned-out and permanently smiling Foreign Minister is on an international charm offensive with the new and famously Moderate President, it seems the West (especially Europe) has set the reset button with Iran, like Secretary of State Hilary Clinton did with Russia – see here. With a nuclear capable Iran they need to be careful about which big red button gets pressed.
And the reset with Russia has had something of a setback recently with the annexation of Ukraine – an event that has revealed something that most thinking people thought was impossible; that Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin were right about something – see here.
There is a clue in Ayatollah Khamenei’s job title; Supreme Leader. It doesn’t get much more specific than that. And when the Supreme Leader speaks, he should be listened to, even if some people find what he says inconvenient. And we cannot listen if no one at the BBC allows us to hear.




BBC Complaint Upheld

17 03 2014

Category; Middle East, Media
BBC_Trust

The Times is today reporting that the BBC Trust is to censure Middle East Correspondent Kevin Connolly for a report on the Today programme on Radio 4 in 2011. They have ruled that Connolly’s report was inaccurate and misleading; the ruling is the culmination of my complaint to the BBC almost three years ago.

The BBC Trust has embargoed their report on the complaint (hence my heavy hinting in my last post – click here) but The Times has run the story.

The BBC’s handling of the complaint was characterised by delay at every stage, and when forced to respond they have  responded with intellectual dishonesty. Rather than seeing the complaint as an attempt to ensure accurate and fair reporting they have treated it as a gratuitous attack on the corporation and the correspondent.

Here is a a link to The Times report (it’s behind a paywall unfortunately) – The Times; BBC Trust Ruling

And here is a link to a post with the report itself and the reasons for the complaint – Denry; Facts that Matter

More to follow…





Rogue Editor

14 03 2014

Category; Middle East, media

Jeremy-Bowen-001

© BBC

BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen has been lambasting the BBC Trust over its censure of his journalism 5 years ago. It’s interesting timing on Bowen’s part. Why bring it up now?

Does he know something? Is there a timely reason to be trying to undermine the Trust’s rulings? Read the rest of this entry »





News Narratives

19 05 2013

Category; Media

Eric Kitson

A former UKIP Councillor

News is about narratives. You pick your starting point and take it from there. That starting point is both literal and metaphorical; the opening sentence in any decent news report is worth as much as the rest of the report, and the viewpoint of the author, or outlet, moulds facts.

It’s how Fox News and The Guardian manage to shape the same facts in such different ways.

Read the rest of this entry »





Disaster and the State

13 05 2013

Category; LawMediaPolitics

© Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty

A terrible industrial disaster in Bangladesh, a building full of workshops collapses leaving more than a thousand dead (click here), and our first reaction in developed economies is to question our responsibilities as consumers and whether we should boycott the western companies who have clothing made there (click here).

It’s an example of the fact we seem to have forgotten what the state is for.

Read the rest of this entry »





Don’t Blame Starbucks

20 10 2012

Category; Finance, Law, Media, Politics

Schiuma

It’s easy to get worked into a schiuma by the revelation that Starbucks hasn’t managed to pay any corporation tax in the UK since 2009 – click here for report. Big turnover is, apparently, eaten away by expensive licensing royalties to an overseas subsidiary (Holland) of the Starbucks parent company, expensive beans bought from another overseas subsidiary (Switzerland) and then roasted by yet another overseas subsidiary (Holland).

Politicians and journalists are gleefully calling for a boycott of the company that doesn’t ‘pay it’s share’see here and here. But it’s very simple. Read the rest of this entry »





Deconstructing Harry

25 08 2012

Category: Law, Media, Privacy

Same guy, different set of photos

In allowing himself to be photographed, naked, or as they’d say in Nevada, butt naked, in the high-roller suite of a Las Vegas casino, with an equally naked young woman, or as they’d say in Nevada, a hottie, whose acquaintance could be measured more in minutes than hours, Prince Harry, or as they’d say in Windsor, His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, has proven himself the heir to his great great great grandfather Edward VII (click here), and a bit of an idiot.

But should the newspapers be publishing those photos? The short answer is;  yeah, why not?

Of course, that’s not to say they needed to be published, it’s just seriously; why not? Read the rest of this entry »





Many Enemies

12 01 2012

Category; Middle East, Media

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

There has been fevered discussion about who was responsible for the killing of an Iranian nuclear engineer this week; click here for a news report, or click here, or click here or here.

I say discussion, but actually everything I have read has assumed that Israel was involved; the only point of discussion is whether America was involved too. That’s lazy journalism; I cannot work out why no-one has mentioned another player in the region – Saudi Arabia.

There are at least three reasons why they should have joined Israel and America in the list of possibles: Read the rest of this entry »





Myths, Mummies and Nonsense

9 08 2011

Category; Literature, Middle East, Politics

Professor Roger Luckhurst

For academics to lure media interest their theories need to be catchy and controversial. Radio 3 had a discussion recently on the dangers that arise when academics appear on the media.

Roger Luckhurst is a good example of what can happen to scholarship when the media calls. He’s Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London. See here for biography. The media calls him, a lot, and he has a theory that’s leakier than a wedding marquee on an August Bank Holiday. Read the rest of this entry »





Why Not?

14 07 2011

Category; Politics, Media

“Why Not?”

That was the question asked by the charity fundraiser (or chugger) for Save the Children as I walked past today, with a shake of the head and a weak smile.

Why not? Well, four reasons: 

First; do no evil

The man from Save the Children had the bad luck to collar me just as I’m reading a shocking analysis of the work of international aid agencies.

Linda Polman’s book ‘War Games’ (click here for details) catalogues how international aid agencies actually do much harm. How the work to save and improve lives actually, in many situations, does exactly the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »





Oh George…

22 06 2011

Category; Media, Middle East, Politics

George Galloway gave a straight answer to a straight question yesterday.

OK, he didn’t give the straight answer straight away; he blustered, he railed, he orated. Then he gave a straight answer.

Problem is, the answer he gave, the definitive and certain answer; it wasn’t true. And demonstrably wasn’t true.  Read the rest of this entry »





People in Glass Houses

21 06 2011

Category; Middle East, Media

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles has been giving lectures on Western morality recently, and explaining that the West does not have the moral authority to condemn Arab dictators:

 …the West no longer has the moral high ground in the way that perhaps it did in the Middle East…we cannot really preach to the Arab world, we cannot really be seen to have the moral force we need… (BBC Newsnight, 15 June 2011)

He’s the sort of person who might think twice before lecturing others on morality on national television. But he’s also the sort of person who ought not to be invited onto news programmes as a neutral expert. Read the rest of this entry »





Facts That Matter

10 06 2011

Category; Media, Middle East

Facts are relative to context. No news report can be encyclopaedic enough to encompass every view and every nuance. Broadcast media especially are broad-brush and, at their best, leave an impression rather than swamping the audience with facts.

But news must be anchored in facts, and sometimes it seems the distance to that anchor is so great that the report becomes adrift.

Take the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on 10th June 2011. Read the rest of this entry »








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