12/01/2018 Newswatch


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12/01/2018

Samira Ahmed looks at viewers' opinions on equal pay for men and women at the BBC, and on reports about the Cabinet reshuffle and NHS waiting lists.


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Welcome to Newswatch. The BBC's

China editor accuses her employer of

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unlawful pay descript gs. What do

fewers -- zrum nation what do

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viewers think? Patients aren't being

seen within the target of four

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hours, but do the BBC know what

number that is?

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It was one of those weeks when the

BBC itself became the story.

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Presenting Radio 4's Today Programme

on Monday morning with John

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Humphreys was carry Gracie who until

the day before had been the China

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editor. Her resignation from that

post appeared on the front pages of

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several ever that day's newspapers

and led to discussions in

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Parliament, as well as throughout

the media. How did it come to this?

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The row stems from the publication

last summer of the salaries of the

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BBC's best paid on-air employees.

Carrie Gracie with £135,000 did not

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appear on that list, but she noticed

that two other international on-air

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editors did, Jermey Bowen, earning

between £150,000 and £200,000 and

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Jon Sopel with 200,000 to £250,000.

Having thought she had secured pay

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parity with men on equivalent roles

when she took up the post, she

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initiated a grievance procedure

against her employer. Frustrated

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with the lack of progress, on Sunday

said she would leave China and

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return to the London newsroom. BBC

management refused our request for

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someone to discuss this on the

programme, pointing us no this

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statement:

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programme, pointing us no this

statement:

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Carrie Gracie was not satisfied with

the BBC's response. Here's what she

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had to say. . The BBC talks about a

gender pay gap, but what I'm talking

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about is not a gender pay gap, where

sometimes men and women are in

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different roles, which explains the

differences in pay. What I'm talking

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about is pay discrimination, which

is when men are paid more for doing

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the same job or a job of equal

value. That is illegal. What do

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newswatch viewers think? Michelle

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newswatch viewers think? Michelle

Gross e mailed:

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Colin Robertson agreed:

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But for Peter Stuart, it wasn't the

gap in salaries that was the issue,

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but their level. Why such amazing

high salaries to people the British

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public have no particular attachment

to or Afghanistan for which is --

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affection for, which is key to their

market value, be they male or

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female? More people leaving at

Westminster this week as Theresa May

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made changes to her ministerial

team. On Tuesday the BBC's deputy

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political editor had a glimpse of

the new Cabinet.

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Allowed through the door at Number

Ten today, for a quick peak at the

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new-look Cabinet. Nobody move,

almost nobody moved yesterday

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because Theresa May couldn't make

them. Where is she? There she is,

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Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary was

in the way and wouldn't budge, just

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like yesterday.

It appears not everything went

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entirely to plan with the reshuffle.

Did BBC News unfairly portray it as

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a shambles when it was nothing a

kind:

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It's no secret that the NHS is under

pressure at the moment. But just how

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bad are things in our hospitals?

Well, it can help to get some

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statistics, for instance on waiting

times, but only if those statistics

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are accurate. Twice this week on BBC

News, they weren't.

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Here's Sarah Smith reporting on the

difficulties faced by A&E

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departments in Scotland for

Tuesday's news at 6pm.

Busy Accident

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& Emergency departments in Scotland

mean patients are facing their

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longest recorded waiting times. Last

week, over 100,000 patients waited

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more than four hours to be seen,

nearly 300 waited longer than 12

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hours.

Scott is one of a number of

viewers who pointed out what he

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called quite a huge error:

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BBC News confirmed that. Sarah Smith

mistakenly used an annual figure

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rather than a weekly time for

waiting times in A&E departments in

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Scotland. The weekly figure was

5,686. We used the weekly stats in

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all subsequent bulletins and

coverage. But that wasn't the end of

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the matter, on Thursday, Katherine

Burns was reporting about problems

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in hospitals in England.

To add to this, more statistics,

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showing that December was the worst

month for A&E waiting times since

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records began in 2004. 3,000

patients in England were not seen

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within the four-hour waiting target.

Viewer Scott wrote:

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Do let us know your thoughts on

those issues or anything else that

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catches your eye on BBC News.

Details of how to contact us at the

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end of the programme. Before that,

the BBC's foreign coverage was the

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subject of a comment this week. He

recorded on camera the thoughts of

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relative attention given to two

different international leaders.

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Angela Merkel is the most important

European politician and in Germany,

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in the elections in September she

lost her majority and since then,

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she's been fighting to create a

coalition. But almost nothing at all

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is heard about this on the BBC News,

especially the Six O'Clock News.

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Jenny Hill, the fine Berlin

correspondent, is virtually never

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heard. The person who is heard and

is seen almost all the time,

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especially in the first week of

January is Donald Trump. In that

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week it was virtually wall-to-wall

Donald Trump. The reason why Merkel

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is virtually ignored and Donald

Trump is featured so heavily is

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quite obvious - one is Zen trick,

interesting -- eccentric,

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interesting, the other is probably

fairly dull. But on the Six O'Clock

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News, and in the BBC charter, their

purpose should surely be to inform

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rather than to entertain. I feel

that in featuring Donald Trump so

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much and Mrs Merkel hardly at all

the balance has been lost

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completely.

Thanks to Brian Watson

for that.

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Others feel it's not just President

Trump who's getting too much air

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time on the BBC, but the country he

leads and anything that happens

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there. One example came on

Wednesday, where news came of the

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destruction caused by mudslides in

Southern California. At least 17

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people died and more than 100 homes

were swept away, after heavy

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rainfall hit an area of Santa

Barbara county. After that led the

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news at 6pm, similaron wondered: --

Simon.

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Back in the UK, the Parole Board

decided at the end of last week that

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John Wallboys, thought to have

carried out more than 100 rapes and

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sexual assaults on women in London,

will be released after completing

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his minimum term of eight years in

jail. Mark Easton reported on the

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case last Friday.

The London Cabi,

who drugged and raped or sexually

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assaulted numerous women in the back

of his taxi, is to be released after

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nine years, a Parole Board decision

that's prompted fury and questions.

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Not least - were victims ignored?

Sarah had this comment to make:

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Finally, videos without any

commentary where information is

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presented on screen in text form are

being seen increasingly on BBC News,

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not just on output tailored for

watching on mobile phones, where

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people tend to watch rather than

listen, but also on television.

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Here's an example from the News

Channel last week.

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Bill e-mailed us to make this point:

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Well, we'll leave that one with the

powers that be. Thank you for all

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your comments this week. If you want

to share your opinions on BBC News

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and current affairs or even appear

on the programme, you can call us:

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Or e-mail us: find us on Twitter as

well. Look at our website for

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previous discussions.

Bbc.co.uk/newswatch. That's all from

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us. We'll be back to hear your

thoughts about BBC News coverage

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again next week.

Goodbye.

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Viewers' comments about BBC News coverage, with Samira Ahmed.

This week, opinions on equal pay for men and women at the BBC, and on reports about the Cabinet reshuffle and NHS waiting lists.