Talks with regulator
Ofcom to hear Daily Business complaint over BBC
Ofcom Scotland has agreed to a meeting with Daily Business to discuss ongoing concerns over BBC Scotland’s continued promotion of selected media.
Ofcom now has a role in relation to the BBC to provide independent regulation in three areas: content standards, the BBC’s impact on fair and effective competition, and the BBC’s performance in delivering its mission and public purposes.
Daily Business has made two official complaints to the BBC over Good Morning Scotland’s daily references only to the print headlines in selected media outlets, all of which also have digital platforms. Daily Business contends that this amounts to regular free airtime afforded to these selected media outlets and therefore disadvantages those outlets which are digital only.
BBC Radio Four’s Today programme now routinely includes news websites such as Huffington Post and Buzzfeed in its review of the news headlines.
Ofcom Scotland says that it does not have a role in assessing how the BBC reaches creative or editorial decisions, but Daily Business editor Terry Murden says this is essentially a commercial matter.
He said: “BBC Scotland continues to review the media as if it still only exists in print while most of its listeners are now accessing news online, including the online versions of the newspapers.
“By excluding the same stories and columns published by online media the BBC is not only actively putting online publishers at a commercial disadvantage, it is also failing to fully serve its own listeners.
“It is naive for the BBC to claim that this review does not amount to a promotion. Any airtime given to a product or service is a form of promotion and BBC reviewers have even occasionally encouraged listeners to read particular articles, thereby blatantly promoting those titles.
“BBC websites also promote the newspapers as a “Must See” item, which is hardly subtle.
“In recent weeks it has been noted that GMS no longer – or only occasionally – reviews the business headlines. However, its general round-up is still restricted to the print headlines.”
Daily Business has received widespread support on this issue from readers, Twitter and Facebook users and a number of public relations companies who see the BBC’s approach and response to be out of line with modern reading and listening habits.
One Scottish public relations company executive wrote to Daily Business stating…”your complaint is fully justified. A traditional review of newspapers printed at midnight is, in terms of business news, entirely useless; the online reaction of you and other experienced business journalists writing live is much more valuable for breaking news…”