16/03/2012 Newswatch


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That is the news. Now it is time for Newswatch. This week, how


effective is the BBC's complaints Welcome to Newswatch. Later,


complaints about the BBC's complaints process. It was goodbye


from her. As Breakfast prefers -- prepares to move to Salford some


viewers will be leaving the programme as well. Have you heard


this braise special relationship this week? The Prime Minister


visited Barack Obama and viewers were treated to views of his


arrival, hot dogs, a gun salute, Banquet, and some politics. Shaun


Wednesday saw a distressing reports about the coach crash in


Switzerland which killed 20 people, most of them children. Fire crews


had to cut through the mangled remains of the bus. There were no


other vehicles involved. Helicopters and ambulances were


used to take those he survived to fall nearby hospitals. -- those who


survive to to Fort Austin nearby hospitals. At schools in Belgium


the agony of not knowing who had survived, and waiting for the worst


Foyers and was also on the might of Parts of the BBC are in the process


of moving to their new base in Salford. A couple of weeks ago it


was the turn of the sports news department to migrate, which means


the news channel sports presenter is no longer in the same studio as


the main news presenter. Time for sport now. A full round up


from the sports centre. Thank you. We will start with football and it


was a remarkable night. The change is not to the liking of


David like that. -- David like that. What do you do if you object to


something you have seen on the programme? Contact us and Newswatch.


But what if you want to take things further? There will be a three-


stage process. You can complain directly online or by post. If you


are not satisfied with the response from the programme-makers you can


go to the editorial complaints unit which will investigate


independently of producers. If you are still not happy you can appeal


to the BBC Trust. Changes are being suggested to the system. In a


moment I will be asking what is behind the proposals, but before


that, what is wrong with the way things are now? Frankly, I would


have them all shot. Some complaints hit the headlines, many don't.


30,000 people objected to Jeremy Clarkson's opinion about public


sector workers being shot. And 55,002 Jonathan Ross and Russell


Brand's prank phone message. The BBC handles a quarter of a million


The House of Lords Committee report last year agreed, finding the whole


process was convoluted and overly complicated. Investigating


complaints can take a lot of money and time to the frustration of


programme-makers as well as members of the public. These people are


effectively in control of their town. It to two years before the


BBC Trust found an article broadcast by Jeremy Bowen had


breached impartiality guidelines. One of Lord Patten's Thurston us


was when he took over as chairman was the complaints procedure can I


should be improved -- first announcements. I'm joined by the


member of the BBC Trust responsible for the complaints process, Richard


Eyre. A lot of people find the process complicated, convoluted. I


even heard the word Byzantine used. What will you do to improve it?


For we are consulting on a range of measures. We will shorten the


length of time we hope it takes if you choose to go through the whole


system, from your first complaint up to an appeal to the trust, it


should be quicker. We will prioritise the handling of


complaints that raised serious editorial issues, things like


impartiality, accuracy. We will prioritise those at the expense of


the small but significant number of complaints that did Brady raise


significant issues at all. -- but do not really a race.


The person who complained that the passionate about them and you might


enrage more viewers. Nearly everybody who makes a


complaint to the BBC believes in it and often they are passionate about


it. It doesn't follow they are always right. We guarantee every


complaint will be read, every complaint will receive an answer.


Those that really did raise issues of substance should not have


licence-fee payers money spent on them -- those that really do not


raise issues. One big issues like bias or


impartiality, one thinks of the Middle East, hundreds if not


thousands are convinced the BBC is pro Israel, and in equal number


think the opposite. How to adjudicate on matters as


complicated as that. It is extremely difficult, almost


impossible for the BBC to do a news report on the Middle East without


getting complaints alleging we are partial on one side or the other,


sometimes on both. Each of those complaints, however often we


receive them, even when they come over and over again from the same


people, have to be taken seriously and sometimes that takes a long


time. I know one of the consent of critics is some complaints take


months or even years before they are resolved. Ahead of the lot of


work goes into it. As for legal advice, the BBC does take legal


advice when it feels it needs to. It is in the interest of licence-


fee payers the courts do not end up determining what content should or


should not be on BBC programmes. You spend most of your working life


on BBC News. Is there a danger having spent so much of life in


that culture you may not be the ideal person to handle independent


editorial complaint? I am sure I am not ideal but there


are 12 members of the BBC Trust, only three of us have previous


broadcasting experience, all three of those have experience in the


outside world after he stopped working for the BBC. -- After we


stop. What I have had my other colleagues have and the other nine


members of the trust share is a passion for the BBC's editorial


independence, a passion for the BBC setting the highest editorial


standards in the broadcast world, and the determination to hold the


BBC programme-makers to account, when and if they let audiences down


by a beach near standards, that is what trust is there to do. --


breached standards. He firmly for the perception of


things, wouldn't it be better for the appeal process to be handled by


an external body? -- if only. Those things are granted through


royal charter, the BBC Trust has the legal responsibility for


oversight of the complaints process. Audiences can complain also to


Ofcom, or to them as an alternative if they wish, except on some key


areas where Ofcom has no involvement, the BBC's impartiality,


accuracy and fairness. Finally, tears were being shed on


the breakfast -- Breakfast sofa on Thursday when Sian Williams


presented with a gravel the last time in advance of its move to


Salford. It will be broadcast from next month, but without her. Such a


wonderful audience, thank you very much. I will miss you usually.


we will miss you. It has been a joy and pleasure. Good luck. The tears


were not just in the studio. Claire Winchester was just one of many


For other viewers there tributes were a come in by a sting in the


We hope to discuss that move north in the coming weeks. Let us know


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