01/09/2017 Newswatch


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Now on BBC News, it's time for Newswatch, with guest


Welcome to Newswatch with me, Roger Bolton,


Coming up on the programme, the other flood.


Around 40 people have died in Hurricane Harvey


having been killed in the floods of South East Asia.


Shouldn't that disaster have been given greater problem -- prominence?


We will also ask if the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's


death has prompted an outpouring of what one BBC editor


But first, the reputation of August as being the silly season for news


share of cataclysmic events over the years.


The outbreak of World War I, the partition of India,


and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, for example.


This summer hasn't exactly been quiet on the world's North Korean


missiles flying over Japan and President Trump twittering


With many politicians and others on holiday there has been the odd


Back in the dog days of early August, news presenter Simon McCoy


could barely bring himself to introduce an item


of, shall we say, less than earth-shattering importance.


This doesn't look like a walk in the park.


Dog owners and their pets in California have hit the waves


in the second annual world dog surfing Championships.


There is style, confidence, the size of the way.


Some events have really big waves, some have small waves.


There is a lot of style and technique.


The competitor's main challenge is to stay afloat on the board.


This is in Pacifica near San Francisco.


There are also prizes for the best dressed and tandem surfing dogs.


The winner of course being crowned top dog.


Simon McCoy became something of a folk hero after his


That video went viral with Judy Hutchinson


describing his fantastically lacklustre delivery as British


Jeff thought, you can hear the existential misery


But a canine twitter user complained that Simon fails to show


the necessary respect when reporting on the dog surfing competition.


It reminds me of a skateboarding duck who appeared on an early


More conventional sports have also featured strongly on BBC news


From the world athletics and digits to last weekend's boxing


extravaganza in Las Vegas in which Floyd Mayweather


That contest led some news bulletins on Sunday morning,


prompting viewer Jackie grounds to complain, this report should have


There is no doubting the news value of Gurricane Harvey which landed


in Texas a week ago and has continued to cause huge damage


as a storm and tropical depression with floods now


James Cook was on the spot for BBC News on Saturday.


Hurricane Harvey smashed ashore just a short time ago.


Not very far from here, about 30 miles east north east


of where we are standing here in Corpus Christi.


The winds are said to be at 130 miles an hour according


That makes it a category four hurricane and an


Christian Hudson was concerned about the danger, asking,


why was he standing outside getting soaking wet and being


Surely isn't this responsible of the BBC to put its


I know the BBC likes to report on what is happening around


the world but safety should be paramount.


Many more viewers had a different concern


The floods had displaced thousands of Americans and the death toll


It is clear has been a major natural disaster.


But a much greater one has been taking place


Monsoon rain in India, Bangladesh and Nepal has affected no


fewer than 16 million people, killing 1200 so far.


Although BBC News has covered this Asian disaster,


the amount of airtime it has been given is far less than that given


Here's what some of the audience felt about that relative lack


I'd like to know how the BBC decide which to cover and why


the floods in America, which are less fatal, has been


covered more than the floods in the Asian subcontinent.


Is it because there are more reporters there?


Or is it because they are poor people all that the Asian people


While what Hurricane Harvey has at least is truly catastrophic


and I feel for the huge loss of lives and property,


I was surprised to find the disproportionately


and somewhat superficial coverage of, for instance,


These places do not have the kind of coping mechanisms


available, for instance, in the American scenario.


But the coverage doesn't seem to be anything like the type of continuous


blow by blow account that we seem to get off the American experience.


And it does raise questions of Western media's Euro-American bias.


To be honest we expect better from the BBC.


I've hardly seen any coverage of the flooding in southern Asia.


It seems that 20 people have lost their lives in Texas


and that was a tragedy but it also seems over 1200 people have


Are their lives somehow less important than those of Texans?


It's like, why are you giving it less coverage?


Well, to answer those questions, I'm joined by Paul Royal,


editor of the BBC's News at Six and News at Ten.


You don't deny that Storm Harvey has received much more coverage


in your news programmes than the floods in south-east Asia.


There has been a lot of coverage of Storm Harvey over the last four


Probably in totality more than the South Asia floods.


But, what needs to be made clear and it's really important,


BBC News and BBC television news covered the south Asia floods


in the middle of August from about August 13 onwards.


What was going on in Nepal, and then the BBC South Asia


correspondent reported for television news on August 20


on BBC One Sunday tea-time and Sunday Ten O'Clock News.


We were in country reporting that story.


We are currently in India at the moment reporting their today


and over the weekend on the latest stage in these floods.


Nobody is denying that you are covering it


but when you look rather crudely at the casualties, around 40


around 40 killed from Storm Harvey, we are talking at 1200 and counting


You know, viewers say this is an immense disparity


and want to know why and they have suspicions.


You heard David say is it because more reporters


It is true all the American networks are going live and you can pick


up their coverage very easily and at very little cost.


It is a factor in terms of accessability and where resources


It is easier to report that there are still challenges


It is easier in a practical and technical sense to report


from somewhere like Houston than it is from countries


where you might need that these are all where practical access


It is much harder and involves more time and effort to get there.


Nicola Davenport, who we heard from, said, do you think Asian lives


The news is respected and revered for its global news coverage.


The other big lead story of the summer was in Sierra Leone,


the lead story on the sixth got news on the day it happened.


Those on the bulletins, the six and Ten O'Clock News


for days at five that week with a correspondent


That is not a broadcaster that only looks in one direction when it


The BBC expects you not to follow the rest of


They say that is not the case and they do believe it leaves


an unfortunate impression that anything that happens in the States,


in the West can you give more importance to perhaps


because you feel that your audiences are more interested in that.


Of course our audiences are interested in stories


that happen in the UK, and America, and in


What has happened in Houston in Texas this week is a big story.


I totally accept there are questions around proportionality


and it is good that viewers and listeners have these concerns


What I would say is this is not a broadcaster that only


It is not a question of have you covered it,


Another aspect briefly in terms of the American coverage that some


listeners and viewers have brought up, is about to seem preoccupied


with the fact how President Trump will handle it in


financially what really matters now is what is happening on the ground.


Are you slightly obsessed with President Trump and his tweets?


Clearly the bulk of the reporting has been about what is happening


There is a political story in terms of what happened


with Hurricane Katrina, which was a very big and important


story in modern America's history and whether President Trump


would repeat some of them stakes are made in terms


It is personally legitimate to cover that aspect of the story.


It is one piece on the day that President Trump went


Clearly the south East Asian crisis will continue though


properly with a big health problem in Bangladesh.


We are committed. We are there right now and you will probably is the


coverage on BBC News. Finally, we mentioned at the start of a Britain


that major news events to happen in August despite what some might think


is one example is the death of Princess Diana which took place on


the last day of that month in 1997. Thursday's 20 anniversary was marked


by a number of TV programmes and news reports which were not


appreciated by everyone. Our editor described himself on social media as


board of the coverage, saying, hopefully today will be the last


that we have to suffer mawkish media Diana drivel. Brian Peacock was one


of a number of viewers who seconded that sentiment. Thank you for all


your comments this week and please keep them coming. If you do want to


share your opinions on BBC News and current affairs or appear on the


programme you can call us. Or e-mail. You can find us on twitter.


To have a look at our website. -- do have. That is all from me. Samir


will be back to hear your thoughts about BBC News coverage again next


week. Goodbye. Good evening. The first day of


September in the first aired meteorological autumn. This started


off on a fine note for many of


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