09/01/2016 Newswatch


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The first of the year. In this programme... A masked British


murderer and a child featuring in the latest year released by Islamic


State. Did we fail to show enough of it for viewers understand the story?


Did the corporation underplay the race of hundreds of men attacking


women in Germany on New Year's Eve? And, a politician resigns live on


air. Did politics engineer it's timing to cause maximum


embarrassment? -- its. The BBC has for some time being very careful


about showing propaganda videos. -- been. But the latest video posted a


challenge. It had a British child showing propaganda. Islamic State


militants in Syria have released a video claiming to show the execution


of five men accused of spying for Britain. The video, which we will


not show, has a masked man with a British accent threatening the UK.


Our security correspondent is with me. There are many of these videos


released. What is different about this one? It followed a brief


description of the video but no excerpts. It started many


investigations into the identity. It annoyed John Webster left this


message. I am disgusted that they would not allow last to see the


Islamic video. We did not get most of the audio, let alone the video.


The following evening, we were showing a short clip from the


video. The search had stepped up for the person. The latest propaganda


from Islamic State, a masked dealer daunting Britain and addressing it


is Prime Minister. -- killer. All in a British accent. How strange it is


that a leader of a small island threatens us with a handful of


planes. Some viewers thought that wasn't enough to get a sense of the


video and regretted the BBC's apparent lack of interest in the


identity of the child featured in it. Year is Christian. -- Here.


To talk through this issue I am joined by James Stevenson, the news


editor. Thank you. In the past you have had complaints the BBC was


giving any oxygen of publicity to the terrorists by showing video. You


have shown as little as possible according to your previous policy.


What is the policy now? Our audience recognises the great difficulty we


have with this material. It is clearly propaganda and intended as


propaganda. It has an effect Peru it's shock value. -- through its.


That makes us disinclined to show it. But it is clearly news and


something we have to report. We try to report as much as we need to do


our job, reports the news and given the context everyone expects, but


not to do the job for them to be that is the balance we wish for. --


that is. On Sunday night, you said you wouldn't show it. And the next


night we got a short clip. Why did that change? I should say that in


our reporting we were very much at the forefront of trying to establish


the identity. By Monday night we were reporting he was the prime


suspect. The reason we took that approach, we used the image, a still


image, from the video, the masked perpetrator. We wanted to be as


restraint as possible. We didn't want to use any more material than


we felt we needed to do to explain the story to the audience. That was


the judgement we talk. As the story developed on Monday and more detail


emerged about the likely suspect, corporate, we began to use a bit


more than we thought we needed to. -- culprit. That was for editorial


reasons, lash out that he was British or appeared to be so. -- to


flesh out. But still mindful of not showing more than we needed to.


Identifying the boy in that video was clearly important. Why didn't


you show his face? We have a difficult balance to strike. It gets


more difficult for us in the judgement we make in relation to a


child. As well as the editorial considerations and things I have


already touched on, we have already serious and strict responsibilities


for a child, looking at the interests, instead of just straight


editorial judgements. That is in our guidelines. We thought there was an


even higher bar the in using imagery. -- there. A young British


child. You would understand their complaint from the viewer. Given the


circumstance, the child is out there, and we need to find out who


these people are that do these kinds of things to children. Was that a


misguided idea of child protection given the threat? We'd think so,


that is why we took a decision. There was a lot of discussion. -- We


don't this. It was so widely out the that we thought others should


follow. -- there. Some others thought that even if lots of other


media showed him either blobbed or unblobbed, we had a responsibility


to show him. In this digital age we live in, the audience can find those


images. We didn't think they couldn't find them if we didn't show


them. We did what we thought was right. Another issue. People thought


that the murderers of the five men did not get enough attention. Did


you convey the full horror of what happens to this and? It depends on


what you mean. -- this man. We described it, but we didn't show all


of it. We didn't feel we were able to do that given requirement about


harm and offence that we make these judgements by. But also the


expectation of the audience. No doubt, it is a horrendous video. I


think our reporting, the scale and nature of it, did full justice.


Thank you, James. Thank you for continuing to contact


us while we have been off air over the last few weeks. One subject was


news reports from Cologne in Germany about co-ordinated attacks on women


on New Year's Eve to be about 1000 men, described as being Arabic in


appearance, attacks women, including two alleged rapes. -- Eve.. Some


complained that until the middle of this week the apparent background of


them did not get broadcast. In Germany, tonight, protesters


gathered around the cathedral in Cologne after around 80 women were


assaulted on New Year's Eve. Police suspected as many as 1000 young


males, many drunk, carried out the attacks but the Angela Merkel has


called for the perpetrators to be caught and punished. Not mentioned


is the in the brief report was the ethnicity of the attack is. --


there. But that did appear on the following night thanks to Jenny Hill


in a full report. -- attackers. At this point it was already major


news. Many thought there was a significant omission from coverage.


The appearance of the man involved in the incidents had been widely


published in all other media sources. -- men. As well as on line.


In fact, the BBC's own website included disinformation. So, why on


earth the decision was taken to suppress information is beyond me.


-- this information. It is being politically correct to the extreme.


It brings into question the BBC's impartiality. It plays into the


hands of those who are against immigration. Finally, the ongoing


dispute about how the news media treats Jeremy Corbyn got a new focus


in the new year with coverage of the shadow cabinet reshuffle that lasted


three days. By Wednesday, changes were still being made following the


sacking of Pat McFadden. Laura Kuenssberg was on the case with a


colleague of his. It has also led others to be considering walking out


of the door. One of them is Stephen Dougherty. What is your opinion? I


agree to serve on Jeremy Corbyn's frontbench for a number of reasons.


-- agreed. I had differences on national security and other issue.


When someone is singled out in that way with views that I also have, it


is honourable for myself to leave as well. Journalist might say an on air


resignation was a bit of a coup. Many were concerned about how it


went about. -- Journalists. The BBC had this to say in


response. And that is all from us this week.


If you want to share your opinions you can call us using this number or


e-mail Newswatch at the website. You can find us on Twitter. And you


cannot previous programmes on our website. The website to do so here.


That is all from a. We will be back to investigate BBC News coverage


next week. -- us. Thank you for watching.


It is gradually getting colder over the next few days.


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