19/02/2016 Newswatch


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 19/02/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



been violent clashes in parts of the capital, Kampala. At 10pm, Sophie


Ray Werth will be here with a full round-up of the day's news. First,


it is time for Newswatch. Hello, welcome to Newswatch,


with me, Samira Ahmed. On this week's programme:


Allegations of bias and a lack of balance in the BBC's coverage


of the EU are likely to increase How can the corporation ensure


it treats both sides And, do reports of a former Pope's


friendship with a married woman try It is certain to be one of the most


contentious subjects the BBC will be Many people have fixed


and passionately held views on whether the UK should leave


or remain in the EU. And how BBC News presents


the argument on both sides is sure to be scrutinised very


carefully indeed. David Cameron's negotiations


with his fellow EU leaders have been a lengthy and tricky process,


but the arguments over in-work benefits for migrants,


the emergency brake, ever closer union and the rest of it


will be just as fiercely fought And they will be fought


largely on the airwaves. The BBC have a commitment to due


impartiality and independence from political influence,


particularly during election But how to enforce such a commitment


when much about membership of the EU Already, the complaints have been


coming into Newswatch, with Bob writing on Thursday


and representing the majority point By contrast, Victoria had this


to say about a recent news report: It is clear that not everybody


is likely to be satisfied by the campaign coverage,


but how will the BBC be at least be News programmes and bulletins


try to allocate equal That could prove difficult when most


of the leading figures in mainstream political parties


are in the stay camp. And there is a worrying


precedent for the BBC - coverage of the Scottish referendum


campaign 17 months ago was heavily criticised by those favouring


independence, who thought the corporation displayed


pro-Westminster bias. Will it again be charged


with showing too much sympathy To try and answer some of those


questions I'm joined now by Ric Bailey, the BBC's


Chief Political Adviser. It feels like there is already a lot


of tension out there about alleged I think it's true of referendums


that the passions are very hard People feel very strongly


about referendums, because, by their nature, they are polarised


and they are binary. It is a choice


between that and that. And so any referendum is a real


challenge for impartiality. And of course when you are talking


about the European Union, something which is so important


to the UK's future, of course What we have to do is


balance the arguments. So we're not necessarily


balancing the two campaigns, although of course we will hear


from both of them, but the most important thing for the electorate


and for the audience is that we are balancing


the arguments on the Remain side Is that then really boiling down


to a matter of equal airtime I mean, there will be people


watching with stopwatches, won't there, and


counting the minutes? We are very clear that


you don't judge impartiality Of course it's important,


it would be wrong to have twice as much air time for one side


as the other, but that is not the be Actually, impartiality is a much


more subtle judgment on that. You have got to think about the two


arguments, you have got to think about fairness,


about tone, about There many different aspects


to impartiality that go way As we heard, the BBC was very


strongly attacked by the SNP during the Scottish referendum


campaign for allegedly being pro-Westminster,


which meant pro keeping the union. Most Westminster parties officially


back remaining in the EU. So where does that leave


the BBC, on balance? We have to be very clear


in the debate on the referendum that this is not between parties,


this is about an argument And we will have to represent


the wider range of views on both sides, it is not just a single view


on each side. Many political parties,


quite a wide range of parties, will be on one side,


there will be many voices on the other side, and we have


to balance those. We absolutely, I think if you look


at the BBC's reputation globally, I don't think it is for necessarily


always going with the Establishment, of course part of our job


is to scrutinise the Establishment and Government, and to scrutinise


the status quo, if you like. Because most of the interviews tend


to be from established political parties, there is already a sense


from viewers that that means that there tend to be more guests


who are pro remaining in the EU, and that is why


they say it has bias. That is assuming this is only


going to be a referendum This is a referendum in which people


are being asked individually to vote They are not being asked


to back a particular party, they are being asked,


when they vote in this referendum, And they say it won't just be


politicians we will hear from. Viewers complained that to this


point it feels as if they have been So you are saying that's


going to change, then? Of course, the story so far has


been about the deal, what the Prime Minister


is doing in Brussels. Once the referendum campaign starts,


it will be very clearly balanced Even up to now we have been very


careful whilst representing the views of the Prime Minister


and the political parties, who are all on one side,


also to hear the other voices. At the moment, there is no


figurehead for the Leave campaign I go back to the idea that this


is an argument, this is between the argument and not


between the individuals So part of the story


is what is happening And of course we will cover that,


it is important that people understand what those arguments


are on the Leave side. But it doesn't mean that that


disrupts if you like the idea It looks more divided,


a figurehead kind of crystallises people's attention, you have got one


on one side and none on the other. Part of our obligation


during the referendum campaign is to hear from the range of voices


on both sides, and, you know, you have to look at the Remain side


to see how many different political parties and views from business


and so when you will hear, and on the Leave side,


to know that over a very long campaign, 16 weeks,


our job is to represent a lot of those views across much


of our output. It's not to channel this


into a single position. Over the next few months we are sure


to be looking again at how the EU referendum campaign is covered,


so please let us know your thoughts


Download Subtitles