11/07/2014 Newswatch


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headlines are coming up in the BBC News at nine, but now it is time for


Newswatch. This week Samira Ahmed focuses on the BBC News website.


Welcome to Newswatch. Coming up: After the European Union ruled there


was a right to be forgotten, Google removed links to some online news


articles including BBC news pieces. What should the BBC be doing about


it? And should the BBC ever remove its own news stories? I will ask the


head of BBC News online about how they handle direct requests from


individuals every week. If you have felt your reputation


could be ruined by an article posted on a website, you might fight hard


to try to ensure no one reads it, but would such an attempt ever be


justified or is this just censorship? Google waded into this


debate last week by removing links to some news articles after requests


made under the European Union's right to be forgotten ruling. One


was a blog post written by Robert pest in seven years ago about the


American bank Merrill Lynch. The BBC economics editor himself takes up


the story. Somebody complained that this


article was in some sense not appropriate, irrelevant... Damaging


to them, and they asked Google to make it much harder to be `` for


people to find it and Google said yes. I found this quite shocking.


Google has since restored links to some articles, though not that one


by Robert Heston. It can still be read but cannot be found by a Google


search. But this issue affects the BBC in another way. It's News


website also receives an increasing number of director quests from


individuals to remove articles permanently from the online archive,


so how does it deal with these requests? To discuss this I am


joined by the editor of BBC News online Steve Herrmann. I understand


you get these requests weekly to take stories down. What are the


reasons people give for these requests? The reasons people ask


there is hugely. I won't go into individual specific cases, but


things like people saying, I was involved in something some years ago


which I now find embarrassing and I would rather it wasn't there, to


something coming up when people Google my name and I am looking for


a job and I am worried it might affect my job prospects, all the way


through to, something where somebody was involved in court proceedings


and they want to ensure that the record is clear, that they were


cleared, or things where something quite traumatic happened to them and


they don't want the full detail of the news reports at the time to be


something people can look for and read or watch. Do you ever comply


with these requests? Many viewers will be concerned at the very idea


that the BBC might consider taking down in article just because someone


doesn't want anybody to see it. We have always taken a very careful


look at every one of those requests and we only agree to them in


exceptional circumstances. So the kinds of criteria we use, the chief


one really is balancing the harm to the individual against the harm to


the public interest in having a the public interest in having a


permanent record, and archive, of all the news events, in the same way


library might have a record in the newspaper, the physical newspaper


archive, so balancing those two things. But we also considered for


example, whether the story was a matter of public record anyway,


because it happened in open court, or whether it is so widely available


on the Internet anyway that is removing it is neither here nor


there. So we do consider each request carefully and only agree in


exceptional circumstances. We share the concern of viewers and readers


about preserving the integrity of our archive. There are couple of


other issues about the BBC News website which viewers have been


raising. One is from Hillary Melrose from doorstep. Concerned she has


about a feature on the website front page. She e`mailed us this.


That is one of a number of complaints along those lines that we


have had. This week there was a popular story that was seven years


old. Why does that happen? The reason some stories resurface can


vary but it can be as simple as a website that has a big following,


big traffic somewhere in the world, links back to one of our stories in


some context, because they are retelling a similar story for


whatever reason, so people come to the story for that reason, or it


could be that it has been shared by someone with a big following on a


social network. There are many reasons these stories resurface, and


once they do they sometimes stay there for a while as other people


come to them. You get this effect from time to time and Disraeli


because the module does what it says on the tin, which is the most read


and most watched at any given moment. This can be confusing for


viewers, can't it, because you see something you think has just


happened and it hasn't. What can you do about it? We are working on


trying to make it clear when we are showing an old story, so just to be


clear, when you get to the story, once you land on the story and are


reading it it is clear at the top of the page that it is an old story.


There is a date stamp on every story, but we want to make it


clearer even before you click on the story that if you click on this


headline it would be an old story. We are experimenting with a format


that says something like, this story is more than a month old or more


than three months old. The technicalities of implement in that


are still being worked through, so you may have seen notices to that


effect on some stories in the last week or so. They are not there all


the time because we are still working on the fix at the moment.


Another objection we get a lot from website users, some people want to


comment on a story but not every article have that option. This is


what Joshua e`mailed us. Rebecca from Swansea agreed, asking


this week: You give readers the facility to


comment on some stories but not others. Why not just on all of


them? When we decide which stories to put comments on, we look for


those key stories of the day, usually among the top stories, which


are likely to attract a degree of debate, opinion, discussion and


likely to engage audiences, stories where people have strong opinions


they want to express and have a debate about. We are selective about


it and try to choose those stories where we will have the best quality


of debate. We don't put them on every story. On some stories there


are legal considerations, but also more broadly we do moderate our


comments and we have a lot of stories every day that we publish,


and many users come to the website and say there is an issue of scale


as well that we must be mindful of when we think about which stories


have comments. Thank you very much, Steve Herrmann. You can find more


information about the BBC's policy on removing online content and a


host of other matters at our website. The addresses the screen.


`` on the screen. Letters know your thoughts on the BBC News website or


any aspect of BBC News. Details of how to contact us at the end of the


programme. Now for some of your other concerns this week starting


with the allegations swirling around Westminster of paedophilia made


against senior politicians and other establishment figures, outlined in


documents passed to the then Home Secretary in the 1980s and now


lost. A very serious and complex story and one which Suzanne Lawrence


felt was not being reported well. She e`mailed us to say:


The football World Cup is almost over and Wimbledon has finished for


another year, but the coverage of sports News continues to attract


attention. On last week 's programme we showed two screenshots from the


BBC sport website sent to us by a viewer who wondered if the BBC


described Andy Murray as British when he wins and Scottish when he


loses. BBC sport online have since been in touch with us denying that


suggestion and pointing out that the tennis player was referred to as


both British and Scottish at different points in both articles


quoted, one about his defeat at Wimbledon and one about an early


victory. They are but they try to use both terms about Andy Murray in


all their pieces about him, win or lose. Losing has been the talk of


Brazil this week it seems following the national football team 's


disastrous 7`1 defeat by Germany in Tuesday 's World Cup semifinal. But


how much of a calamity was this really? Here is Richard Batty.


At least us the World Cup draws to a close we may see a lull in the


numerous complaints we have received about sport dominating news


bulletins. Bob streets summed up that view with this helpful


suggestion. That is all from us. Thanks for all


your comments this week. If you want to share your opinions on BBC News


and current affairs or even appear on the programme, call us or e`mail


us. You can find us on Twitter, and do have a look at our website.


That's all from us. We will be back to hear your thoughts about BBC News


coverage again next week. Goodbye. Good evening. We have had some


decent weather again across the country today. Sunshine sending


temperatures up into the mid`20s Celsius, but


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