This latest survey covers fourteen weeks between September 16 and December 21, 2013 and encompasses every word spoken about the EU over 84 editions, adding up 251 separate items and a total of 121,000 words. The analysis is based on widely accepted data analysis techniques used by academics in media schools at universities such as Leeds and Loughborough.
Newswatch figures show fewer than one in 1,000 contributors to Today’s EU coverage were supporters of withdrawal from the Labour party or the British left.
BBC Director General Lord Hall told the House of Commons select media committee in a
hearing in October that the Corporation was determined to deliver impartiality by ensuring
that a range of voices on key issues was heard.
Newswatch’s latest figures – based on monitoring approximately half of the Today editions
since 2005 – show the programme has carried interviews and soundbite contributions
from only three left-wing advocates of withdrawal. The statistics show that there were
3,513 contributions to the various EU discussions on Today in nine years, but that
withdrawalists from the Labour Party and British left represented just 0.09% of guests, or
one in every 1,171 EU-related appearances.
The three speakers who contributed to the EU debate were Labour MP Austin Mitchell in
September 2009, Labour MP Gisela Stuart in October 2012, and Labour Party donor John
Mills in June 2013. Their combined contributions amounted to approximately 5 minutes
of airtime, but only 1 minute featured the speakers actually making any sort of case for
Newswatch surveys: Since 2005, Today has carried only six minutes a year of those who support EU withdrawal talking about the subject
Latest Newswatch report: Today ignored UK Withdrawal from the EU, but gave multiple airings for those who want stronger EU ties.
The latest News-watch report shows that Today went out of its way to give those who were opposed to change in Britain’s relationship with the EU – including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg – multiple platforms in which they had clear time and space to advance arguments in favour of their views, including the hotly disputed claim by Europhiles that 3.5m jobs would be lost if the relationship with the EU was fundamentally changed. This assertion went unchallenged by the Today presenter.
Is the BBC properly balanced and impartial in its reporting of complex issues such as the EU, immigration and climate change?
This survey investigates the Today programme’s coverage of EU news and current affairs over a thirteen-week interval between Monday 17 September and Saturday 15 December 2012. Newswatch monitored and analysed all 78 editions of the Today programme broadcast during this interval.
This survey investigates the Today programme’s coverage of EU news and current affairs for an eleven-week interval between Monday 3 October and Saturday 17 December 2011. Newswatch monitored and analysed each edition of the programme in its entirety. All programme items were timed and logged, and all which were relevant to the European Union or its relationship with the UK were transcribed in full.