BBC response to question of selective reporting of London demonstrations

Blog: The Editors, 1 June 2011 | 1 Comment
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We contacted the BBC via the complaints section of their website to enquire as to why they had covered the Rally Against Debt on May 14th 2011, but not the nearby rally for Palestine. The Rally Against Debt was given front-page coverage on the BBC website, and snippets from the speeches at the rally were even aired on televised news - generally, speeches from rallies in London are never aired on television, even when attendance is significantly higher. Note that this rally also occured only three days after the Hardest Hit march (11th March), which received far less coverage from the BBC (despite an attendance of between 3000 and 8000). Coverage of these events in London does appear to be disproportionate.

Our article discussing the reasons for such reporting can be found here (opens in new window).

Sent to the BBC:

Can you please briefly explain why on May 14th the BBC provided a lot of coverage for the "Rally Against Debt" but nothing for the nearby Rally for Palestine, commemorating the Nakba?

The two rallies were only minutes apart, and I viewed both which were of equal size. I do not understand why the BBC only covered one of these.

I look forward to your response

The following response was received from the BBC on the 1st June:

Thank you for contacting the BBC.

The BBC does not have the resources to cover all demonstrations in central London so inevitably we have to make some kind of selection. This can sometimes be based on impact or size, but also on public interest or the need to reflect different shades of view. After many months of reporting on numerous protests against the cuts we simply felt the Rally against Debt reflected an alternative perspective which had not been widely covered. We don't feel we gave it a disproportionate amount of attention but we did think it was worth reporting.

We appreciate this is a matter of judgement, and that not everyone agrees with this decision. We only hope that you would accept the decision was sincerely made, and there was no intention to demonstrate any bias or discrimination against other viewpoint or organisation,

Kind regards,

BBC News website team

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Comments (1)

1. Steven Dobbs13th June 2011 10:50

The bbc's response is invalid.

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