This is a cross post from Autonomous Mind
“Regular readers may recall a couple of posts back in January where we told the story of an Autonomous Mind reader who complained to the BBC about an edition of Hardtalk.
This is the one in December 2010 where President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives was allowed to state, without challenge, that due to human induced climate change sea levels around the Maldives are rising. The lack of journalistic rigour and blind acceptance of such a controversial viewpoint as fact led to the complaint being made and the BBC’s two fingered resp0nse in January which included the immortal words:
We’re committed to honest, unbiased reporting and are determined to remain free from influence by outside parties.
Following the response, our reader then filed a Freedom of Information request to the BBC asking for details of:
- how many complaints/ accusations of bias the BBC received from the public about the BBC’s coverage of climate change
- how many of the complaints received about climate change were upheld by the BBC, i.e. were accepted
- brief details / a list of all the complaints upheld, i.e. the details of the upheld complaint and the BBC’s response (excluding details of the person complaining)
In publishing the story in a follow up post we shared the unsurprising news that the response from the BBC to our reader’s request was a refusal to provide the information sought. Once again the BBC was hiding behind its establishment-given provision to withhold any information the BBC considers to be held for the ‘purposes of journalism, art or literature’.