Listener complaint partially upheld but BBC programme still available

The Jewish Chronicle informs us that:

“The BBC has partly upheld a complaint that a World Service programme misled listeners about the health of Palestinians in Gaza.

A segment on the Health Check show in October last year looked at the situation facing patients suffering from kidney failure.

It suggested that medical supplies and equipment had been blocked by Israeli authorities, hampering the treatment of the Palestinians.

Reporter Angela Robson focused on a six-year-old girl and said the “blockade of Gaza is having a devastating impact on her health”. The claim drew a complaint from a listener.”

According to the findings of the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit:

ECU

Of course, all commissioned output is supposed to comply with BBC editorial standards and so the failure to do so in this case can only be attributed to BBC staff, rather than to the freelance reporter who made the programme – especially as the sentence highlighted in the ECU decision above was actually said by the programme’s presenter Claudia Hammond. 

“2. Editorial Control

2.1 The BBC will have final editorial control over all BBC versions of programmes including all associated online and interactive elements commissioned from independent producers.

2.2 All programmes including online and interactive elements commissioned by the BBC from independent producers will be subject to all relevant BBC guidelines and published compliance procedures including without limitation the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines and Fair Trading Guidelines.”

Mr Stephen Franklin – who made the complaint which brought about the eventual ECU ruling – notes that despite it, the programme concerned has not been removed. In fact it is still available for listening on the internet (here from around 12:20) with no indication to listeners that parts of the broadcast have been found to be in breach of BBC editorial guidelines. 

Health Check 3.10.12

Obviously, there is no point in the BBC wasting public resources to address audience complaints if, in cases in which those complaints are found to be valid, the output concerned is neither subsequently amended to reflect that fact, or removed. 

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