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BBC offers ‘insulting’ response to complaint

BBC Scotland

BBC response was “arrogant and offensive”

The BBC has once again failed to respond adequately to a complaint from Daily Business about its coverage of Scottish media. The matter will now be referred to Ofcom, the BBC’s new watchdog.

A reply received today from the BBC Complaints Team shows a failure to even understand the nature of Daily Business‘s concerns or to provide any sort of answer as to why the corporation continues to overlook online media.

To add insult to injury Emma Duff from the BBC Complaints Team states that our comments were passed to the “Editor, Good Morning Scotland, who has asked that I forward his response”.

No such person or role exists.

Daily Business lodged an official complaint based on Good Morning Scotland‘s promotion of selected media in the morning radio station’s daily review of the news headlines. This review takes no account of the changing nature of the reading habits of the population. Despite denying that this review constitutes a promotion of the titles mentioned every day the BBC has, on occasions, urged its listeners to read specific articles.

Daily Business called on the BBC to reflect the news as it is consumed in 2017 and to stop giving a commercial advantage to the media it promotes on a daily basis to the exclusion of other media.

A complaint in May produced no response. A second complaint in July has now produced the following reply from Emma Duff of the Complaints Team:

“Further to your recent correspondence regarding Good Morning Scotland’s review of newspapers, your comments were passed to Editor, Good Morning Scotland who has asked that I forward his response as follows:

“Across a seven day period, BBC Scotland broadcasts over forty hours of radio news coverage, including regular travel, weather and sport bulletins. Our agenda covers the latest news from Scotland, the rest of the UK and abroad. We successfully mix a range of stories, from the latest developments in politics to human interest tales that will engage our agenda. As part of this coverage, we include a short review of the newspapers at twenty minutes past six on weekday mornings.

“The intention of this review is to provide our audience with a general sense of the way different newspapers are covering that day’s news agenda. On each occasion we explain to the audience how the newspapers are covering the news, explaining the editorial lines they’ve taken and analysing their use of photographs and other graphics devices which they use to illustrate particular stories. This newspaper review also has a broad agenda.

“On any given day the review can be covering everything from politics to Andy Murray. It’s intended to give our audience a general impression of the way the newspapers are covering the news agenda. This is in keeping with our broad editorial agenda, as we aim to deliver comprehensive coverage and analysis of the day’s news.

“Please be assured that bias plays no part in our reporting. We place the highest value on accuracy and impartiality within our own journalism and rigorous editorial standards are applied across all of our output. Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us and I am sorry it has taken this length of time to reply.”

Terry Murden, Editor and Director of Daily Business, described the response as “pathetic and insulting”.

He said: “The number of hours devoted to news, travel, weather and sport is irrelevant to the complaint. Nor is the complaint concerned with the mix of stories, or with the quality of BBC reporting or editorial bias.

“It was about giving certain media outlets a preferential commercial advantage which is not in keeping with the BBC’s policies on impartiality and inclusivity. This is not even mentioned in this reply.

“It confirms one particular aspect of the complaint: that the morning news review focuses on the newspapers. However, it does not acknowledge that readers of these titles largely read them online, not in print, and that these titles are therefore in competition with other online news providers.

“This response displays ignorance, arrogance and a huge failure to understand even the basis of the complaint.

“For Ms Duff to claim this response was from a person who does not exist is deeply offensive.

“A further complaint will be lodged to the BBC and to the BBC regulator Ofcom.”

Related articles:

Daily Business renews complaint to BBC

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