31/05/2013 Newswatch


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Newswatch. This week, what happens when BBC


the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week, should BBC News have


broadcast the grief of his family in scenes like this? He was a devoted


father to our son Jack, and we will both miss him terribly. And from


Hutton to Jimmy Savile, on the last day of his 24 year career at the


BBC, we hear from the outgoing media correspondent Tyron Douglas about


the difficulties the BBC has reporting on itself.


A fierce debate about how the BBC News reported the murder of Lee


Rigby in Woolwich has been running since the incident ten days ago. One


aspect of the coverage which provoked reaction arose since last


weeks programme, and related to what was shown of the grief of drummer


Rigby's family. I leave. I always will, and I am proud to be his wife.


Lee Rigby's mother looked at the flowers and messages to her son. The


press conference on news bulletins last Friday, and other appearances


by the Rigby family since then, prompted a number of complaints,


contacted us about last Friday's press conference, leaving this phone


message. Why is this family subjected to this kind of media


scrutiny? Who organises this spectacle, and how was it supposed


to help the viewer to make sense of the horrific events that proceeded


to hit? Both men are in police custody, so why is it necessary to


put the grieving family through more pain and anguish? Why did the news


editor find it necessary to share this private family pain with the TV


audience? We asked one person who got in touch with us to record his


thoughts on camera. They showed the poor woman's Greece in detail, even


zooming in when she broke down. So soon after. She must have only just


been informed of her son's horrific death. To film the woman's grief


publicly like that... I thought it was wrong, and inappropriate. What


purpose did it serve? We put all those points to BBC News, and they


end the conflict in Syria runs on, but fighting and violence continues.


The report on Tuesdays news at ten had evidence of this. This footage


shows the regime performing attacks in early May.


What happened next is under dispute. This leaked video,


apparently filmed by pro-government fighters, shows the troops.


What was shown next offended Peter by BBC journalists is the task of


reporting on their own employer. The corporation has certainly been in


the news a lot recently, most noticeably when the Jimmy Savile and


Lord McAlpine issues forced the resignation of the Director General


last November, a resignation prompted by an interview on Radio 4


's today programme. Nobody even mentioned, in the context that we


understand, nobody even mentioned it. No.Isn't that extraordinary?


the light of what has happened here, I wish this had been referred


to me, that it was not. I've run the BBC on the basis that the right


people are put in the right positions to make the right


decisions. Weeks after the crisis broke, the BBC is facing more


questions, not just about its journalism but about the way the


organisation is run. That was touring Douglas, the media


correspondent for 24 years at the BBC, who has often faced the


possibility of biting the hand that feeds him. That does the BBC get the


balance right when examining itself? Some viewers think not, including


is about to leave the BBC, and by the Professor of journalism from the


University of Kent. Mr Douglas, Jimmy Savile and Lord McAlpin


must've been your toughest stories as a media correspondent. As far did


you feel that you could independently report, when it was


putting your own bosses the spot? The BBC is better at this than


anybody else. That is not saying a lot, but I think the fact that John


Humphrys 's interview lead to the resignation shows that on current


affairs, they can be very, very independent. And it is important


that the BBC should be because it is publicly funded and publicly


accountable. If it not look at its own affairs independently, no one


else cannot. -- if it cannot look at its own affairs independently, no


one else can. The BBC is good about talking about management and jobs


but not very good about confronting the horror of the crime. Wonder how


uncomfortable you felt about the balance? It was a difficult one


because Newsnight had the first opportunity to expose Jimmy Savile


and did not. And therefore, the BBC initially, certainly on its news


site, felt at a disadvantage. Then there was a period when actually the


BBC probably tried to overcompensate and thought it ought to go in higher


-- go in hard because it was on the back foot. Eventually, these things


work themselves out. As an outsider, how do you view the way the BBC has


reported on itself? I think the BBC is inclined to sell scrutinised but


I am not sure it is properly self-aware. What I mean is that when


the BBC needs to scrutinise itself, it is facing a tough conflict. Two


versions of public service are in conflict. It asked to hold power to


account and it does that honestly. -- it has to hold power to account.


It has to involve -- it is to avoid boring its licence payers with


arcane subjects. I'm not sure they get the balance right. Let me give


you an example. The BBC will believe that if they put the most senior


manager available on here to answer questions, that it has done the job


properly, but the truth is that the very senior management responsible


is not actually the person who took the decision. And it might have been


a better idea to put, for example, the editor of the programme on the


air, rather than the Director General. If we go back to the Hutton


enquiry, I did not want to hear from the drag the general about the


abuse. -- Director General. How far have things changed since that


landmark scandal? Well, that was a landmark because it was such a big


story. But also in the way that the BBC covered it, cause everybody


acknowledged that since the enquiry began, the BBC was covering it


straight. Remember the first day, people were shocked and were leaders


in the papers the next day saying that the BBC was doing a good job of


covering it straight, not trying to defend itself in any way at all.


you wonder that if a story, when it breaks, the BBC might be good about


coming clean about it, and analysing it, but getting the BBC to give you


a story is much, much harder. Stories get leaked and broken by


other broadcasters. That is inevitable to some extent. If you


imagine that the BBC has learned that they have broken the law, it


sounds odd. You have to take your viewers with you. At a gay current


affairs programme like panorama or Newsnight might do it, but you can


imagine imagination is that would go on. -- I think a current affairs


programme. It would be difficult to do it that way. What the BBC does


do, when a story breaks or is about to break, then it really gets onto


it and does it properly. Actually breaking a big story about the BBC


itself is quite a hard thing to do on its own. It is bound to the issue


that the BBC will put up its management, but not other news


media. The BBC is spectacularly good at self-flagellation, saying" we are


to blame and we know we are to blame and we are sorry". What it is not


good at is saying precisely what has happened. It is not about being


dishonest. The BBC accurately says that they are better at self


scrutiny than other media outlets but other media outlets are


absolutely appalling at it. Thank you both.


Thank your for your comments this week. If you want to share your


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