Daily Telegraph’s BBC bashing – welcome to amateur hour


Crass Thinking Breeds Lazy Journalism

D+ Could do better?

It’s Monday so it must be another BBC bashing article from the Telegraph’s “general news” reporter (really, what kind of title is that?) Hayley Dixon.  I would have been tempted to read the entire article however, due to the fundamental factual error contained within its opening sentence, I decided that my time would be better spent writing this brief post.

Ms Dixon (and presumably her editor) appears to believe that Ofcom has no regulatory oversight of the BBC.

“Regulation of the BBC could be handed to Ofcom, which currently oversees the
rest of broadcasting.”

Perhaps she’s never heard of search engines but if she had simply entered “Does Ofcom regulate the BBC?” into one of them she might have been able to accurately reflect the reality of the relationship between the two entities in her piece for today’s edition. Just for Ms Dixon’s benefit here is the relevant extract from Section 19 of the BBC’s guidelines on accountability:

19.3.1

Ofcom has certain powers to regulate the BBC’s licence fee funded television and radio services aimed at audiences in the UK, but not the World Service which is grant-in-aid funded.  Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code applies in the following areas:

  • Protection of under-18s
  • Harm and Offence
  • Avoidance of inciting crime or disorder
  • Responsible approach to religious content
  • Prohibition of use of images of very brief duration
  • Fairness
  • Privacy.

The Editorial Guidelines reflect the provisions of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code in these areas.

19.3.2

In addition, the BBC’s commercial services (whether broadcasting to the UK, or from the UK to our international audiences) must comply with the whole of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

(See Appendix 1: Ofcom Broadcasting Code)

19.3.3

Where Ofcom finds a breach of the privacy or fairness sections of its Code, it may require the BBC to broadcast a statement of its findings.  Where Ofcom considers that the Code has been breached “seriously, deliberately, repeatedly, or recklessly“, it can impose sanctions, which range from a requirement to broadcast a correction or statement of finding to a fine of no more than £250,000. 

I don’t know what is going on over at Telegraph Towers but it seems that the Barclay brothers‘, who also own The Spectator, 9 year tenure as owners of this once esteemed organ has been accompanied by a significant decline in journalistic competence.

The BBC is rightly being dragged over the coals as news of its irresponsible use of public funds and amateurish and unwieldy internal management are revealed.  Nonetheless, the organisation is, justly, one of the most highly regarded and closely examined institutions in the world. I wonder how well the output and internal machinations at the Daily Telegraph would stand up if placed under similar levels of critical scrutiny?

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