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BBC tells its journalists to be alert over impartiality
The Telegraph ^ | 12/23/2002 | Tom Leonard

Posted on 12/23/2002 11:45:31 AM PST by GeneD

The head of BBC News has warned its journalists that they need to be more concerned about "impartiality" on contentious issues.

Addressing an internal staff meeting of BBC journalists, he said: "We need to be on our mettle, particularly over the question of impartiality."

The main battlefields were Europe, the urban-rural divide and the Middle East, he added.

The three issues are areas where the BBC has faced particularly vociferous allegations of bias.

The corporation was accused by supporters of the Countryside Alliance of consciously underplaying the importance of the recent Liberty and Livelihood March because of the urban, pro-Labour sympathies of its staff.

It has also faced persistent allegations by Eurosceptics of pro-Europe bias.

Ten days ago Iain Duncan Smith accused the BBC of offering "platitudes" to terrorists in the Middle East by describing Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad by "euphemisms such as radical and militant". He also attacked a BBC report on the Iraqi parliament for not mentioning its true status in a dictatorship.

However, the BBC said that on all three issues it was regularly accused of bias by both sides.

A BBC spokesman said Mr Sambrook was not suggesting that impartiality had been a problem for the BBC but that it was going to be even more of an issue in the future. "These are areas where we have to be extra diligent," she said.

She said he was responding to a recent report for the Independent Television Commission which called on impartiality rules to be relaxed.

Greg Dyke, the BBC director-general, told the same meeting there was not enough news analysis on television.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: bbcnews; britishbroadcasting; pressbias

1 posted on 12/23/2002 11:45:32 AM PST by GeneD
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