BBC accuracy error disappeared from view

At the beginning of this month we noted that the synopsis of an edition of ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ featuring an item by Jake Wallis Simons erroneously claimed that:

 ”Jake Wallis Simons drinks beer with an Israeli settler who tells him that whatever the outcome of the current John Kerry peace initiative, he and others like him, won’t be leaving their settlements.”

In fact, the man interviewed said nothing of the sort.

Mr Stephen Franklin contacted the BBC about the inaccuracy of that synopsis – which appeared at two locations on the BBC website. The answer he received reads as follows: [emphasis added]

“Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ on BBC Radio 4.

We note you believe the programme’s webpage incorrectly described what was actually heard on the 3 August edition.

You say it stated “Jake Wallis Simons drinks beer with an Israeli settler who tells him that whatever the outcome of the current John Kerry peace initiative, he and others like him, won’t be leaving their settlements.”

However, I’ve had a look and this is what it says:

“Jake Wallis Simons drinks beer with an Israeli settler who tells him that whatever the outcome of the current John Kerry peace initiative, he and others like him still believe in their rights to the land.”

This is in line with Jake’s recollection of his conversation with the settler, who he states said:

“I base my claim on (the land) on 3,000 years of history.”

“This place is ours.”

“This is our land.”

We hope this allays your concerns about the accuracy of the content of the webpage.

We’d nonetheless assure you your concerns have been registered on our audience log, which is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the trouble to contact us.”

But Mr Franklin was not – as this letter suggests – mistaken about the wording of the webpages concerned and the lack of accuracy in that content at all – they have simply been altered in the meantime without any addition of notification of that fact.

Here is a screenshot of the original version of one page:

FOOC AUG 3 2

Here is the amended version:

FOOC JWS amended

Here is the a screenshot of the original version of the other webpage:

FOOC Aug 3

Here is the amended version:

FOOC JWS podcast amended

This of course means that there is no acknowledgement on the part of the BBC that a mistake was made in the first place and hence no record of the failure to comply with BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy. 

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