12/09/2014 Newswatch


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Hello, and welcome to Newswatch, with me, Samira Ahmed. On this


week's programme, has BBC reporting of Ashya King been fair to his


parents, or intrusive and excessive? Alex Salmond blames the


metropolitan media for unfair coverage of the Scottish referendum


debate. Has the BBC being guilty of this? And what is more important, a


live broadcast from the trades union Congress of the TCC leader's speech,


or breaking news of a royal pregnancy? `` TUC leader's speech.


Sometimes, a story can seem very clear when it is first reported, but


then be transformed as new information emerges. The case of


five`year`old brain tumour patient Ashya King is just such a story and


has been followed widely throughout the British media, including on the


BBC. Ashya is now being treated in Prague, but his name first hit the


headlines two weeks ago. It started at around 2p yesterday, when Ashya


was taken from the hospital by his parents. At 4pm whole family


travelled to Portsmouth, where they boarded a ferry. At 8pm, six hours


after they left hospital, the police were alerted. Initially, this seemed


to many to be a simple but tragic tale that Mr and Mrs King as the


villains, and to some that is how the BBC portrayed at first.


In the past fortnight of course, events have moved on significantly,


with Ashya undergoing scans this week at a clinic in Prague, in


advance of planned proton beam treatment. Jenny Hill reported from


Park for Monday's News at Ten. It has been a long journey for Ashya


and his family. It is still unclear who will pay for his treatment, but


the therapy for which they have fought so desperately is expected to


start next week. Such coverage led to further complaints, such as this


e`mail. The head of the BBC newsroom is Mary


Hockaday and she joins me now. Some viewers felt the early coverage


implied the parents were guilty, because of the prominence given to


what the authorities were saying, the photographs under the talk of


the arrest warrants. Should the BBC have done more to question the


source and the reliability of what the authorities were claiming? At


the first stage we are going to report because any face value that


is an important thing to say, the service to the community, an


announcement from the police and the hospital of the possibility of a


missing child. At that stage, that feels unimportant, significant


thing, being said by the authorities, and the right thing for


us to do to draw attention to it. But very quickly them story moved on


and our coverage moved on and that happened in a number of ways. One of


the things that was notable and unusual about this story was the way


the family quickly started to communicate themselves, partly by


putting video on YouTube, and new phenomenon really, but it very much


became part of the story playing out. Once it became clear that the


family were going to be allowed to take Ashya to Prague, viewers were


concerned that we should have left them alone and there was cameras


everywhere, outside their home, outside the hospitals. Was it


intrusive, and the idea it turned into a mini soap opera. The family


themselves were very happy and in fact choosing to communicate us and


to other media, so it wasn't us, if you like, pressuring them, and for


our audiences and many of our audience were very engaged in this


story and wanted to know what happened next. That is our


fundamental job, what happens next, and it seems to me and I think this


is absolutely right, that we followed that stage of the story


through to Prague. All along, as well as reporting if you like the


core elements of the story, we tended to the many issues it threw


up because it really did raise many questions. Lots of questions for


people about families' rights vis`a`vis care in hospital, lots of


issues about the costs and truck choices of treatment in hospitals,


issues around the European arrest warrant, questions about proton beam


therapy itself, and other kinds of treatment for tumours and so on,


with some really interesting testimony from other families, who


have had experience of this. For us, reporting the story come airing the


issues, he of `` hearing from all sides, that is the job we were


doing. Thank you so much. Elsewhere this week, the referendum


campaign in Scotland has been hotting up in advance of Thursday's


vote. Next week's programme we will be examining the role the BBC has


played in covering the campaign and the role it might have after the


poll. But the corporation has been under fire this week for its


reporting of the independence issue. Firstly, after this pronouncement by


royal correspondent Nicholas Whichelow on Tuesday's BBC One


bulletins. The Queen will accept the referendum result, whatever it is.


That is her duty as a constitutional monarch. But nobody should be in any


doubt, any break`up of the United Kingdom would be a matter of deep


private sadness to her. Alex Salmond has been at the heart


of much of this week's news output, demanding that the BBC should


cooperate in an enquiry into the leaking of RBS's plan to move its


registered office to London if there is a yes vote. The First Minister


was questioned by Nick Robinson on Thursday about concerns about banks


and retailers over an independent Scotland. Should a Scottish voter


believe you, a politician, against men who are responsible for billions


of pounds of profits? He didn't answer, but he did attack the


reporting of those in what he called the metropolitan media. Who could he


mean by the metropolitan media? And did Mr Salmond really not answer


Nick Robinson's question? Earlier on Thursday, the news


channel was broadcasting live a speech from Alex Salmond, but at the


same time something else was going on on the other side of the world.


For the first time ever, Scots now believe that this can happen, indeed


this will happen, and with that sense of relief... Back to the judge


giving her verdict in the case of Oscar Pistorius, she has said the


state has not proved beyond Remy `` reasonable doubt that he was guilty


of premeditated murder. Cutting away from showing a live


event also resulted in our final, this week. Here is Frances O'Grady,


general secretary of the trades union Congress, telling the TUC


conference on Monday morning what was wrong with the society we live


in. Where the blame is heaped on the most vulnerable, migrants,


claimants, while the powerful and privileged sit pretty. Just break


into Frances O'Grady's speech with this breaking news. The Duke and


Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to announce the Duchess of Cambridge is


expecting their second child. In fact by the time the news channel


had finished discussing the royal pregnancy, Frances O'Grady's speech


had finished. We could have waited 20 minutes to


wait and learn about the Duchess's pregnancy. I could not see that it


was a matter of national importance that it could not wait for 20


minutes. There is the leader of over 5 million workers in the trade union


movement who was cut off and allowed two minutes and 25 seconds. Crazy,


it just seemed so unbalanced and unfair. Thank you to Mary Pearson,


and all those who sent their comments this week. If you want to


share your opinions on BBC News and current affairs, or even appear on


the programme: That is all from us. We will be back


to hear your thoughts on the coverage of the Scottish referendum


under the topics next week. Goodbye.


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