05/07/2013 Newswatch


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you very much indeed. Time now for Newswatch with Samir


Ahmed and this week, immigration from Europe comes under the


spotlight. Welcome to Newswatch. On the


programme: come on, Andy! Why should news bulletins have to move because


of a tennis match? The Rolling Stones, the tents, the


wellies, but should BBC News had gone to Glastonbury? And has BBC


coverage of immigration from Europe demonstrated a liberal bias?


The biggest story of the week has been the crisis in Egypt, where huge


protests against the government led to President Morsi being ousted and


replaced but how should that litter call our people be described -- how


should the political upheaval be festivals are in full swing and so


is Murray-mania. Along with the latter comes the annual round of


complaints about the scheduling of Wimbledon, with Andy Murray's


quarterfinal comeback supplanting the local news bulletins and moving


Glastonbury, also gave rise to objections. Judging by this phone


call from Mike Morgan, he is not a fan. Why was it necessary in the


news programme to have repeated references for what passes for a


music festival, and to actually send a reporter and a camera team looking


at people jumping up and down in puddles and making inane comments?


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This is not what I expect from the way the breadth of public opinion on


the thorny topic of immigration, the European Union and religion? That is


the question the BBC Trust set out to answer in a review published on


Wednesday. All these Eastern European 's are coming in. It was


the defining point of the last general election. Gordon Brown's


description of Gillian Duffy as that bigoted woman showed that the


political class did not get the strength of public feeling about


immigration. This week's -- Helen Boaden agrees, saying she found a


deep liberal bias in immigration coverage when she took up her post


in 2004. Mark Thompson said in 2010 that the BBC had been guilty of a


massive bias to the left. On Europe, some viewers have told us they still


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Kingdom Independence party and the way the BBC reported it may suggest


that sceptical views on immigration and the EU are now taken more


seriously and a report from the BBC Trust praises the broad and


impressive range of opinions currently broadcast, but the talk of


bias still resonates with some he used to run ITV and two conducted


that assessment of impartiality in BBC output. -- and who conducted.


How has this liberal bias come about? I did not say there was a


liberal bias in the BBC, it was the BBC head of news. The BBC has a


tendency to follow the news agenda as driven by Westminster


politicians. Politicians have historically been reluctant to talk


about immigration and Europe. What I think the BBC has failed to do is to


use its own initiative to go out into the community where these


issues were being discussed and sometimes where mainstream


politicians are not reflecting views that are widely held in that


community they will be expressed through a naughty party. That is


what is happening with UKIP. None of the main parties were ready


representing their viewpoint held in some communities. UKIP has come


forward quite suddenly. Journalists generally have recognised that, in


many cases, late. And perhaps they have overcompensated. Some people


look at news organisations say in America where there is much stronger


opinion. There is also concerned that some of it is a lot of


shouting, it is aggressive, and it could be harmful to the public


discourse. I am not in favour of a lot of shouting and heat just for


the sake of it. A good entertaining news and current affairs programme


is mixture of heat and light and mostly light, but what I am trying


to say is it is an important service that the BBC can provide for our


democracy. For us to be able to hear and understand a wide range of


viewpoints, some of which we will not find palatable. Every time the


BBC does this, sections of the press and politicians say, outrageous,


terrible, to give the oxygen of publicity to this. But history tells


us we do end up speaking to these people but sometimes it takes ten


years. We would not broadcast the IRA in 1998. 20 years later, Martin


McGuinness is a deputy minister. I am interested that ordinary public


opinion is not being reflected in news coverage. To what extent should


the BBC be reflecting public opinion, including controversial


opinion, and how far is it just a duty to inform? An example is


climate change scepticism. You say we need to reflect dissent. That is


an interesting one. That is a long discussion. You keep on hearing


people say that climate change is a settled science. There is no such


thing. We are questioning the sensible 's of science the whole


time. It is not the job of the BBC to close down this debate. While


there are respectable arguments by people like the former Chancellor of


the exchequer Nigel Lawson, we should be hearing those voices.


there is the issue of the liberal bias, what should the BBC be doing


about it? Does bringing in someone from the Guardian reflect the


problem? What matters is what is on the air. A number of things can be


done to safeguard regularly on a routine. Things I suggested, things


like appointing somebody whose job it will be to be in overall charge


of that story and as part of their daily discipline to ask themselves,


what are the voices on this story that we should have heard that we


have not heard? Things like stand back moments. We get so involved in


the unfolding story, to stand back for a minute and say, are we asking


the questions that the public is asking? There are a number of things


like that that could really make a difference. Thank you. A particular


bugbear we are told about is the tendency of some reporters to wave


their hands about. One viewer identified what he saw


was a prime example on Monday's aware of the public backlash they


risk if they go ahead with this pay rise, there may be nothing they can


do about it precisely because MPs have chosen to hand decisions over


their pay to this independent body. Jim Lee accorded the robotic hand


your comments this week. If you want to share your opinions or even


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