07/04/2017 Newswatch


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president Trump. That's it from me. At 10pm, the full round-up of the


day 's news will be here. First of all, time for NewsWatch.


The BBC gets an independent and external regulator,


what difference will that make to viewers concerned


about whether news coverage is fair and impartial?


Are we on the brink of a bright new dawn, or might


A measured analysis of Brexit from David Dimbleby in the


First, one of the survivors of the Westminster attack


a couple of weeks ago, Melissa Cochrane, gave an emotional


Her husband was killed and she herself was badly injured.


Melissa Cochrane has spoken exclusively to Fiona Bruce.


Kurt was probably the best man I have ever met.


I'm very happy that the world now knows what a wonderful man he was.


Two viewers recorded their thoughts on that for us.


They were divided about the interview itself,


but united in their condemnation of how


it was described and promoted on air.


Can someone please explain to me what it means when Hugh Edwards


prefaces a news report with the expression exclusive report?


The interview was very emotionally charged, but handled very


I feel the interview was cheapened by this


The woman was visibly traumatised, she was


shocked, there were tears on her face.


I don't believe she should have been interviewed, even had she


Here's the rub: at the very beginning of the interview,


Fiona Bruce said, and now we have an exclusive interview


We have managed to get an interview with a visibly traumatised, shocked


and bereaved woman, before anybody else.


Andrew Horner there, and Ian Drake, before him.


This is what they told us:


One of the big debates of the week


was over the comments made by football


manager David Moyes, in a post-match


interview with BBC sports reporter Vicki Sparkes.


Does it put any extra pressure on you as a manager when


you know the owner is in the stands, watching?


Watch yourself, getting a bit naughty at the end there.


You still might get a slap, even though you


David Moyes apologised for those comments, which were widely


condemned and are being investigated by the FA.


But some news critics thought this was a storm in a


Now, who decides what constitutes impartiality, balance and accuracy


And passes judgments on when there's values


And passes judgments on when those values


Here on news watch, we don't have that authority


although we are always keen to view your views.


Up until this week it has been the responsibility of the


But that body has now disappeared, and from Monday, the


independent regulator off, has taken over oversight of all BBC content.


independent regulator Ofcom, has taken over oversight


To answer that, I am joined by Steven Barnett, professor of


communication at Westminster and former chief executive of ITM and


communication at Westminster and Stuart Pervis, former


chief executive of ITM and


Stephen first, people say the BBC has been


What difference will make another .com has taken over?


What difference will make another Ofcom has taken over?


The difference is that once you have made a


complaint to the BBC, which has always the case,


if you then want to escalate it, up until the end of


March, you would then go to the BBC trust.


The question is, in practice, will it


The BBC trust, despite the name, in my view


at least was actually a pretty independent body.


I think it was actually pretty good at looking


after the complaints who felt they had not had justice


The problem was that the perception was that this was just,


There will be a question around those grounds of


Briefly, bringing in some change, I think


there will be more news happening on radio 2 which does not


But some practical changes on what is now required.


There will be, there was a different issue around what will be required


Which is different from the complaints procedure.


So-called licences for radio stations,


We know at news watch the viewers often unhappy


about how the BBC handles concerns around impartiality.


We have heard from Stephen, that in a way it


It was not just a perception that you are


not conscious of who was making the decision.


It was a much wider conclusion about who should complain


about what, and the issue goes much wider across the whole


The simplicity of this is that if you are unhappy, complain to


the BBC first, if you're not happy with the decision, go to Ofcom.


Having said that, there are exceptions.


There was, if you like, a big fudge in the past.


We often hear from BBC editors that achieving


impartiality and balance is not a personal judgment, it is not a


Even the BBC chair says he does want a scientific approach.


The whole debate is that we want some human judgment involved, we


don't want it to be done by some algorithm or other.


We want people to take account of the context and


the background and the whole series of factors before the regulator


I'm sure there will be all sorts of league


tables of which words are more or less impartial than others.


At the end of the day, we need experienced


people preferably with some kind of back on themselves in production,


making a judgment which they have to be prepared to defend.


I have no problem if the BBC does not like the


Ofcom says, it should have the right to say that.


With the scientific approach, I think a lot of people


think it would be good if the BBC did a proper


headcount and looks at who gets to go on panel shows.


I hear complaints about certain people


You will always get complaints from people who actually


see the news through their own lens, of what they think is right and


Particularly in some of the biggest views, like referendum or


But Stewart is completely right, it is


-- you can count the number of minutes as much as you want.


You can count the number of head, the number


of times that someone is for or against.


In the end, it is going to be a matter of judgment.


NewsWatch deals with online as much as


But Ofcom are not going to regulate it.


What has been coming on behind the scenes of the Ofcom


have been pushing back to the government about the idea that they


should regulate, not just broadcasting BBC online content as


well, so we'll have a rather weird situation where if you want complain


about something on television radio, you will if you do not like the


But if you see the same story to go to Ofcom.


But if you see the same story covered online in terms of a blog


post by a BBC correspondent, you will not be able to go to Ofcom. The


reason is that Ofcom does not want to set a precedent for regulating


online content, because then why not recollect ITV online channel for


online, or the Daily Mail online? I think it is an odd situation.


Everyone complains about too much bureaucracy at the BBC. As a whole


new layer of Ofcom rules was going to make that worse? I'm not


convinced there will be a whole new layer of rules. The whole idea as


Stewart said, is to make it easier and clearer. For those consumers who


actually want to complain. I had a look at the Ofcom form and it is


dead simple. The actual process is not going to be any more confusing.


I do have a fear about what it might do to the culture of Ofcom, taking


on this additional, very large area of BBC oversight. I think it will


make it... I think it will politicise off, and a weight has not


been before. It will be in the line. It will be under more pressure from


those who actually are not great friends of the BBC, and then he


majorly of the publishers and some of those who are major critics of


the BBC. Once Ofcom come-down in some of those judgments on the side


of the BBC, which they will, I suspect we will see more criticism


of Ofcom the me have so far. Thank you both. Last week saw a novel


approach to impartiality taken by David Dimbleby in a pollution or


trail he published for BBC question Time on Facebook live. He


demonstrated his alleged skill in the art of rap. We have triggered


article 50, Barnier look shifty, we're going to have to be thrifty


with a recession in 2050. With rather more doom and gloom, the


economy could bloom. With terror threats, murder threats, we will do


we decide to pay our debts? As immigration, taxation, and questions


from the nation will stop May is out on probation. What does Britain


think? Are we on the brink of a bright new dawn, or might we sink?


This is the kind of stuff we get up to on question Time in the


afternoon, thinking Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. What are we going to


do differently about Brexit?! Well it was certainly different, wasn't


it? But was appropriate? The performance was described as


impressive, awkward, with one viewer pleading...


Thank you 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, you can call us on our website is BBC .co .uk/ news


watch. That's all from us. We are only the Easter -- we are off over


Easter but


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