A new website, BBC Complaints – www.bbccomplaints.com – has been launched by News-watch.
Its purpose is to help hold the BBC to account: to ensure that, as is required by law (expressed in its Charter and Public Purposes), it is properly impartial in its coverage of news and current affairs; to fill an important gap by creating a new, independent conduit for the thousands of complaints about BBC programmes such as Today and Question Time.
There are two primary reasons why it is needed.
First, the BBC’s own complaints procedure is not fit for purpose and stacked to an unjustifiable extent against viewers and listeners. Between April 2005 and August 2015, the BBC received 2.1 million complaints from viewers and listeners. However, only 3,335 were considered by the Editorial Complaints Unit, and 88% of these were rejected, usually on spurious grounds.
It boils down to that the Corporation is so locked in its own bubble that it cannot see the problems that taint especially its EU coverage, and also severely distort reporting of topics such as climate change and immigration.
It has constructed a hugely complex complaints procedure that is designed largely to protect the Corporation and its journalists. In the same vein, editorial guidelines have been fashioned around the false yardstick of ‘due impartiality’, a concept that allows BBC editors and executives to in interpret balance in controversial areas entirely on the Corporation’s own terms.
Under ‘due impartiality’ for example, those who oppose climate alarmism are virtually banned from the BBC airwaves because in the BBC’s own judgment – arrived at on the basis of a so-called ‘expert’ appointed by the Trustees – the case for catastrophic global climate change is proven. The Corporation has thus adapted the role of a self-appointed censor.
Second, the area where BBC bias is moist acute is in its coverage of EU affairs. News-watch has chronicled those problems for almost 17 years and its many reports – based on the highest academic principles – can be viewed on this website.
Because of this, during the build-up to the EU Referendum, News-watch has mounted an unprecedented monitoring exercise. Using the latest technology, it covers all the main news programmes and channels, ranging from Newsbeat on Radio 1 to From Our Own Correspondent on Radio 4, and from BBC1’s Breakfast to Newsnight on BBC2.
BBC Complaints has been launched as a vital part of this effort. It’s impossible to keep track of everything that the BBC does, so this is a new conduit where listeners and viewers can register the examples that they hear and see.
Everything noted on the site will be carefully scrutinised and the flow of extra intelligence will enable the team at News-watch to both cross-reference and extend the reach of its own efforts.
Throughout the referendum campaign, News-watch – using the evidence gathered by this detailed monitoring – will be exerting as much pressure on the BBC as possible to improve the quality of its output and to ensure its Charter obligations.
Kate Hoey MP, the former Labour minister who supports exit from the EU, said:
‘In the ensuing referendum it has never been more important that the BBC is absolutely unbiased in its coverage. Unfortunately, in the past this has not always been the case with a form of institutionalised pro EU bias prevailing in the organisation. This new website will ensure all complaints will be publicly aired and should be welcomed by the BBC.”
Ryan Bourne, head of public policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has recently noted that, according to News-watch research, of 4,275 Today programme guest speakers on EU themes between 2004 and 2015, only three were left-leaning supporters of EU exit.