24/05/2013 Newswatch


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Now, Newswatch. Did that BBC News give the oxygen of publicity to the


Woolwich attackers? Welcome to Newswatch. Did the BBC


allow its bulletins to be used by the attackers in Woolwich to spread


their message? Worthy images of the attacks shown on BBC Two graphic and


insensitive? And were some of the voices heard discussing the incident


Wednesday saw the unprecedented street murder by Islamic radicals of


Durmmer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. The response of BBC News over the next


few hours raised several questions in the minds of viewers. Some news


has come in and it is from the Metropolitan Police, from Scotland


Yard, conforming officers have responded to an incident in John


Wilson Street in Woolwich dot. the strongest reaction concerned


footage of one of the suspects attempting to explain the reasons


behind the attack which was filmed on a mobile phone. Stuart Pearce was


one of several hundred with this Robinson made this comment on the


news at six. Senior Whitehall sources have told me, and I cannot


confirm this, that the police now believe that the attackers were of


Moslem appearance, that they filmed their attack, and they shouted, and


owl Akbar. He later apologised for the use of that phrase, of Moslem


appearance, which attracted the ire choice of guest discussing the


attack. Concerns over a news channel interview with a man from the Muslim


public cares -- affairs committee. And Anjem Choudary. For others the


objection was to the images described here by Joan Jarvis. --


from viewers. With me to discuss them as -- is the head of the BBC


News. Talk about the bushels, the images the BBC showed. What was your


concern? My concern was this was a murderer with the blood of his


victim on his hands. Immediately in the aftermath of carrying out the


crime, is one of the e-mail said, the with the glimpse of the body in


the background, and to me that was inappropriate. It wasn't the right


place or time to show that footage, and I don't feel that footage should


have been shown on mainstream TV at all. That is a very specific


concern. A lot of viewers were concerned about that. Seeing the


blood and the suspect. This was a very challenging day in the newsroom


and other newsrooms, too. Really shocking events. On the folding


quite quickly, and then this flow of material that begins to appear, we


look very hard at this material coming in and we thought really


carefully about what to use because we knew how upsetting those images


where. -- those images were. We decided to use some of the footage


and earlier in the day and obviously particularly before the watershed,


we were very careful to give clear warnings. Later in the evening, the


audience is different. We flag with the language and which is to be very


clear about what is coming up. about the video? We heard what this


man had to second what he wanted people to hear. I just feel that


this is an absolute watershed moment in broadcasting. This has never


happened before and you responded to it very quickly. The difference


between this content being on our TV channels and on the Internet is an


editorial one. If people want to go to the Internet, they can see what


ever they want to see. But you have to draw the line on what is moral


and decent. To show a murderer with blood on his hands to me is


completely crossing that line. If he had attacked a woman or child, would


you have still shown that footage? Did the context of the possible


terrorist attack justify it? I don't think it did. To go back to the


second point, to allow him to speak and to voice the reason he had for


carrying out this awful attack. It showed him triumphant after he had


murdered a human being, whose relatives, like you say, could have


been watching. Or soldiers that could've been watching from his


barracks. I don't feel that... Giving a platform, allowing those


words to go out with the video is almost justifying what he did. He


did something terrible and he got what he wanted. About the


distressing images, we know they are distressing and we know we will have


a range of reactions. You are not alone in how you felt. And we do


know that. What we try to do is to find the point we feel is


appropriate to tell the story, to make sure that for people who do not


want to see it that we flag it. We made our judgement about what to


use, and there was more we didn't use. On the issue of the audio which


is very important and interesting, and one which we thought hard about,


we understand, of course, the issue of providing a platform, but our


view was that as the story unfolded in those first hours, that we were


endeavouring to report what happened, but also to try to


illuminate. And one of the issues is motivation. And the audio began to


take you to understanding, and this is not about justifying, but perhaps


understanding some of what had happened. There were still is and


graphic. Would the BBC run their audio footage of somebody did that


tomorrow? Our job is to show and explain how this footage existed,


that it had happened, people in Woolwich had heard it. But you


didn't have to broadcasted. We felt it was valuable in the early stages


of telling the story to show it because that's how people best can


make their own minds up. We didn't use it in a sort of thoughtless way.


And as time went on we used it less and less but in those early stages,


it felt part of helping the audience understand what had happened.


people have complained about the guest to have been appearing to


analyse this story, notably Anjem Choudary. He was on Newsnight on


Thursday. A concerned this was adding to an atmosphere, which was


not illuminating. Why was the BBC still putting him on air?


approach, as with all stories, is to talk to a really wide range of


people and to provide a range of reaction, again to serve


understanding. Newsnight thought very hard about whether or not to


approach and John Cowdrey. -- Anjem Choudary. Not least by the time


Newsnight went out, we knew and we had evidence that one of the


suspects was an associate of his. Therefore there were legitimate


questions to put to him. The other really important point was making


sure that Kirsty, but also some of her other guests, were in the studio


challenging him extremely hard, as they did, about some of the views he


holds. So that is the thinking that went into it. We didn't run many


interviews with him, we certainly were not putting him on live on the


airwaves. But in the context of Newsnight's journalism, and handled


the way we did, it was an appropriate thing to do. We will


have to leave it there but thank you Please letters know your thoughts on


those issues or any other aspects of BBC News. Stage and for how to


contact us. Time for a couple of other topics, starting with the


tornado which hit Oklahoma. Tony Pearson raised a question in this


our inbox this week. After he had been confronted by protesters in an


Edinburgh pub but before he had walked out of BBC Scotland radio


interview, Gavin Esler on the news channel interviewed the party's


economy spokesman. You know him very well and he has got this reputation


as a bloke in a saloon bar and so on, but you think it is telling on


him? He works very hard. Perhaps he smokes and drinks too much as well?


Well, he's never pretended to be a priest and if you don't mind me


suggesting, I regard that as an impertinent remark! How dare you


suggest he should smoke... What the hell has it got to do with you? !


apologise if you take it that way. He wasn't the only one to take


umbrage about that line of questioning. We received this


week. If you want to share your opinions on BBC News and current


affairs or even appear on the programme, you can call us or e-mail


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