09/03/2018 Newswatch


09/03/2018

Samira Ahmed rounds up viewers' reactions to BBC coverage of the attack on Sergei Skripal, the Oscars and other news stories.


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Now on BBC News, Samira Ahmed

presents this week's round-up

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of audience reaction on Newswatch.

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Hello and welcome to Newswatch,

with me, Samira Ahmed.

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The attempted murder of a double

agent on British soil,

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did BBC News report it

proportionately and fairly?

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And was the Oscars ceremony

an excuse for trivial gushing over

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celebrities or a welcomed

dose of glamour?

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The week began with some news

that could have come

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from a John le Carre novel,

described here at the top of

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Monday's News at 10 by Fiona Bruce.

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A former Russian spy is critical

in hospital after a suspected

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poisoning in Salisbury.

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Sergei Skripal, convicted of spying

on Russia for the UK,

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has been living in Britain

for nearly eight years.

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Police in protective clothing have

sealed the area after the Russian

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and a young woman were found

unconscious on a bench.

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We'll bring you the latest,

as police and doctors race

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to establish if this is another

example of a Russian

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being poisoned on UK soil.

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That last suggestion of Russian

involvement was examined many

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times during the week,

but without any conclusive

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proof being put forward,

and that prompted one Twitter user

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to complain that...

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Evidence of Russian involvement

wasn't the only thing lacking.

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Despite plenty of airtime

being devoted to the story,

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actual news developments

were slow to emerge.

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A viewer called John e-mailed...

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Meanwhile, Mike Barnes had

a different point to make.

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If some thought there should be

a presumption of innocence

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for Russia over the nerve agent

attack, then for others the same

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was true of Bradley Wiggins.

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The Olympic gold medal winning

cyclist was found by a House

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of Commons Select Committee

on Monday to have crossed an ethical

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line in taking asthma drugs

to enhance his performance.

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Richard Conway reported

on the story for the News at 6.

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He is a sporting icon,

a Tour de France winner

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and Britain's most decorated

Olympian, but a damning report has

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accused Sir Bradley Wiggins of

unethical behaviour over his use

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of drugs that MPs say were taken

to boost performance and not

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just for medical need.

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John Sheffield got in

touch with us to say...

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Now, the main purpose of BBC News

is to inform its audience,

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but is there such a thing

as too much information?

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That was the charge that's been made

over the past week by viewers

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of the BBC News Channel,

some of whom were watching

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the Prime Minister's speech

about Brexit last Friday,

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and found their eyes

drawn to the right side

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of the screen, as we look at it.

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We are clear that as we leave

the EU, free movement of people

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will come to an end,

and we will control

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the number of people who come

to live in our country.

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But UK citizens will still want

to work and study in EU countries,

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just as EU citizens will want to do

the same here.

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There's quite a lot going

on on the screen there,

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the breaking news banner

with the description

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of what Theresa May is saying,

the scrolling ticker below that,

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summarising other news stories,

tweets reacting to the speech,

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oh, and the speech itself.

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Susan Rowe was one of those

who found it all too much.

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The live speech reaction panel

and the right-hand side

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of the screen, with random comments

from journalists political

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commentators rendered it almost

impossible to concentrate

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on the contents of the speech.

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There was already comment

at the bottom of the screen.

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Please give the British public

the chance to listen and watch

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without being constantly interrupted

by random comments from all

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and sundry, which pretty much

repeat each other anyway.

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The practice of splitting the screen

in this way is also used

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during the live broadcast

of Prime Minister's Questions,

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and last week James Turner objected

to the presence of this tweet

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from Carrie Symonds,

who was the Conservative Party's

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Director of Communications.

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A fact not made clear on air.

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And after this week's PMQs

Adrian David also thought...

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Do let us know what you think

of those tweets appearing on screen,

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added value or just a distraction?

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If you think it's the latter,

you may like to know that

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Prime Minister's Question Time

is shown not just on the news

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channel, but also on BBC Two,

where it appears full frame,

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without tweets running

along the side.

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There will be details

of how to contact us

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at the end of the programme.

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Sunday night saw the big night

of the year for the film industry.

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Some love watching

the Oscars for the glitz,

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the outfits, the drama.

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For others, as we will see,

the appeal is not so great.

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For Breakfast on Monday morning,

Rebecca Jones is outside

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the post-ceremony Vanity Fair

party collaring some of

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the night's winners.

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Yes, morning everyone

from Hollywood.

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I have a great British

success story here,

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and the headline reads for itself.

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From Hollyoaks to Hollywood -

I've got the winners of the best

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short film for The Silent Child,

Rachel Shenton, Chris

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Overton, from Britain!

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Show us your Oscars.

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Yes.

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And they've already got your name

is already engraved on them.

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David Baker also felt the BBC's news

values were wrong on Monday morning.

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And Rosemary Smith agreed.

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On Tuesday, BBC News reported

on calls from public health

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officials for Britain to go

on a diet.

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Health editor Hugh Pym set up

the numbers for the 6

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and 10 o'clock bulletins.

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Here's the obesity problem.

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A child's diet might include

breakfast with nearly 500 calories,

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a packed lunch with more than 1000,

an after-school snack at around 250,

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and pasta and a pudding for dinner,

with more than 800 calories.

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But that's nearly 600

above the recommended limit

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for children, which is like eating

an extra meal a day.

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Most television reports on obesity

like this one show footage

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of the bodies but not the faces

of overweight members of the public.

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One news watch viewer,

a medical doctor who preferred

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to remain anonymous,

e-mailed us recently with his

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thoughts about that practice.

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Hugh Pym was also on the air

on Thursday with some statistics

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about what has become a familiar

story this winter,

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about cancelled nonurgent surgery

in English hospitals.

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Figures out today reveal the scale

of the cancellations.

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In December, there were nearly

27,000 fewer routine operations

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carried out in England than the same

month a year earlier.

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In January, there was

a drop of nearly 14,500.

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And for the most recent two week

period, bed occupancy

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in hospitals at more than 95%

was the highest this winter.

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Steve Gordon wrote to

us with his reaction.

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Finally, Andy Cross is a keen

watcher of BBC News programmes

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but has a frustration he shared

with us recently.

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He recorded this video to explain.

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Could you please explain the logic

of scheduling news programmes

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at the same time on different

channels every night?

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I watched the News at 10 on BBC One,

and then I'm invited

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to either watch my local news

or turn over to Newsnight, starting

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at the same time on BBC Two.

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As someone who enjoys news

programmes, it's so frustrating

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to have to either choose between two

programmes or record one for later,

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especially as there's always

a taster of what's to come

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on Newsnight given at

the end of the news.

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Newsnight has testimonies

from the women at the centre.

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If this is two competing channels,

I'd completely understand,

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but they're both BBC.

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To add insult to injury,

Question Time then competes

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with Newsnight every

Thursday as well.

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Don't BBC One and BBC Two

talk to each other?

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And why only on the

later programming?

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BBC Two offers an alternative

to the News at Six.

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The later scheduling is a pain

to everyone, really.

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If you like news programmes,

you can't watch them all,

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and if you don't like news

programmes, you can't

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get away from them.

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It's very frustrating.

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Thank you for that.

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And to all of those who got

in touch with us this week.

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We welcome all your opinions on BBC

News and current affairs

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and broadcast as many as we can

whether sent in by e-mail,

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telephone or video.

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You can leave a message

on our phone line...

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Or send us an e-mail...

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You can also post your

views on twitter...

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And do have a look at our website,

where you can watch any programmes

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we've made over the past year.

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That's all from us, we'll be back

to hear your thoughts about BBC News

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coverage again next week.

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Goodbye.

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Viewers' comments about BBC News coverage, presented by Samira Ahmed. This week, reactions to the reporting of the attack on Sergei Skripal, the Oscars and other news stories.


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