22/04/2016 Newswatch


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involved in controlling the blaze. At ten o'clock Huw Edwards will be


here with a full round-up of the day's News, before that, it is time


for Newswatch. Hello and welcome to Newswatch


with me, Samira Ahmed. Celebrations across the country


to mark the Queen's 90th birthday, but should BBC News have been


joining in the party or asking hard And did the death of rock royalty


Prince receive the right amount You could hardly have failed


to notice that the Queen The BBC marked the landmark


with several special programmes and extensive coverage


on the News Channel She's done a few of these over


the years, the lighting of a beacon This occasion, of course, was hers -


the celebration of a 90th birthday. Responses to what was screened


varied very widely. Here's what he thought


of the coverage of Well, I can't deny that people


like myself would be And certainly, while the Queen


is Head of State, I wouldn't and couldn't wish for it not


to be covered. I'm asking for a sense


of proportion which obviously I felt that it went so over the top,


so obsequious, that there was no balance, and that's not


just true of the BBC, Yes, it's her 90th birthday


and she is the longest reigning British monarch,


but there was a loss of any The world's news and domestic


news don't stop simply But we've also been hearing


the opposite point of view, particularly following an interview


with Prince William shown Royal correspondent


Nicholas Witchell explored with the Prince what kind of King


he might become, and asked to what extent he shared


the Queen's devotion to duty. I take my responsibilities


very seriously, but it's about finding your own way,


at the right time, and if you're not careful, duty can sort of weigh


you down an awful lot I think you have to develop


into the duty role. You know why I'm asking you this -


it's because there is an impression in some quarters that


you are in some way You will have seen or I am sure


people will have told you about some of the stories,


some of the headlines "Work-shy William" I think


some of them have said. There has also been criticism


of the Duchess of similar vein. That line of questioning


infuriated some.... It's not the first time we've heard


allegations of a lack of respect Here he is last Friday,


reporting on the climb by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge up


to a Buddhist monastery NICHOLAS WITCHELL: All very


picturesque, except that William and Catherine are in Bhutan,


briefly, at the request of the Foreign Office,


supposedly on business. There is a tricky balance


on a day such as this. We shouldn't forget that this


is an official visit, It is also an opportunity,


of course, for some pretty spectacular sightseeing,


and the couple's wish, perhaps understandably,


is to do that Richard Haynes thought those


comments were uncalled for, But again,


opinion was divided... So, sycophantic toadying


or snide impertinence? The BBC's Head of Newsgathering,


Jonathan Munro, is with me Was there a line you worked out,


about where the BBC's It's really interesting


that the postbag is so divided. We know that royal news stories do


divide the audience, I think there are a few specific


that viewers of Newswatch have I think that the Bhutan


tour, for example... It's perfectly proper for us


to raise the question We're not coming to a conclusion,


that is for the viewers to come to their own minds about,


but it is perfectly valid And yet overwhelmingly hundreds


of the complaints were saying the BBC was far too gushing,


and particularly that the BBC's impartiality tends to go out


the window when it comes I don't think we were gushing,


but it was a 90th birthday. It was a joyful moment and I don't


think we need to get too sombre or analytical about a moment of joy


in someone's life. But there were other


voices in our coverage. Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps


the most prominent one, who trod his own line very


carefully, and we reported that. We went to Jamaica, to interview


the Prime Minister of Jamaica for Breakfast News on Thursday,


whose view is that the days of the Queen being the Head of State


for his nation should be over. We interviewed Republic


on Newsnight, so there were parts of our output


which addressed the other But on a birthday, on a day


of celebration, inevitably and I think rightly,


the overwhelming coverage And, of course, many headlines


about Nicholas Witchell bringing up those accusations from the papers


about being work-shy in his interview


with Prince William. I think it was, and I think


if you look at William's reaction in the interview,


I don't think he looks like someone who was thrown into answering


a question he wasn't expecting. If we interview people in the public


eye and we don't ask them questions about allegations or smears,


or whatever it might be, then the opposite case against us


is that we are doing The royals don't expect us to do


public relations job and we don't want to do a public relations job,


so there are times when it is appropriate to ask questions


which stretch the interviewee, in this case Prince William, but it


could have been anyone in the eye, into answering questions


which we don't very often get ITN's presenter and the former Royal


correspondent Tom Bradby is famously a personal


friend of Prince William. How close do you think BBC royal


correspondents I think the closest


of any correspondent gets to someone they're covering


a lot is something I am always It's no different from


a royal correspondent They know the politicians they're


covering at a certain level, they're perfectly civil and friendly


to them, but there needs to be a distance, otherwise the scrutiny


and the sort of questioning that we want to get out


of a specialist correspondent and analysis they bring


can be compromised. I think we're pretty in the right


place, to be honest. Inevitably, as you pursue


a journalistic career in one specialism for a lengthly period


of time, people perceive that you have strong relationships


with people who you are covering. A lot of those perceptions


are not always accurat, and I think it's fair to say


that the relationship Recently Channel 4 News revealed it


turned down an interview with Prince Charles


because of the editorial control Is there a deal between the BBC


and royals over interviews No, and I think Channel 4 News,


for the record, were right. I think the idea that we go


into an interview and have parameters set down before us,


with other people controlling our editorial agenda,


is wrong, it is not the modern era, The BBC asks the questions


the BBC wants to ask, and that is absolutely the rule


of any kind of editorially Thursday evening raised


another issue for BBC News. Should a Queen ever be upstaged


by a Prince? # Why do we scream at


each other...#. Or rather by Prince, the musician,


whose death was announced just as Her Majesty was preparing


to light the first of hundreds of beacons across the UK,


to celebrate her birthday. Opinion was divided over the extent


to which news of the American singer's sudden death should have


broken into and superseded coverage But when the News Channel


did report on Prince, Finally, an example of a problem


of duplication occasionally highlighted to us by viewers


of regional TV news bulletins. Thursday's National News at One


featured five minutes or so on the conviction of two men


for smuggling weapons worth more than ?100,000 on a boat


from France to Kent last year. Straight after that programme,


viewers in the Kent and Sussex region were shown their own ten


minute local bulletin. Today's main news in the South East:


Guilty of smuggling a huge cache Harry Shilling and Michael Defraine


are told they could be We will get the latest reaction live


from the Old Bailey... Andy Shakeshaft was watching


and e-mailed us shortly after. Thanks for all your


comments this week. If you want to share your opinions


on BBC News or current affairs, or even appear


on the programme, you can. Call us on 0370 010 6676,


or e-mail us. Have a look at our website


for previous discussions. That is all from us,


we will be back to hear your thoughts about BBC News


coverage again next week.


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