ME and Ophelia

Monday, May 03, 2004

It's lack of political and media outrage

A few days ago Scaryduck posted a comment here, giving news of the astronauts' bulls-eye landing. I was shocked and elated. Shocked because it was news to me (BBC News online is my home page). Elated because the astronauts had landed safely.

Scaryduck works for the BBC. Doing what, is not for me to say. Let's just say he knows his stuff and nothing much gets passed the Mighty Duck. Today, in response to my recent posts complaining about the BBC's reporting on Iraq and the Sudan, he posted the following comment:

"Tell you what, I'll prod around tomorrow's editorial meeting, see what I can get. Sudan is not ignored by the BBC as these items of 27/4, 25/4 and 23/4 show:

World service has filed reports on Darfur sixteen times in the last two weeks. It is less lack of reporting, and more lack of political and media outrage. Perhaps Mr Blair would like to set some sort of agenda on this?"

- - -
My reply ended up too lengthy to fit into the comments box, so I am posting it here:

Great Scaryduck, thanks for commenting and offering to prod around tomorrow's editorial meeting, to see what you can get. Please don't get me wrong. I did not mean to imply that the Sudan is being totally ignored by the BBC. I'd read the items when they were reported on 23/4, 25/4 and 27/4.

Trouble is, the last report on 27/4 was six days ago. It stated the Sudanese President has been to the province of Darfur - and that the UN said more than 10,000 people have been killed, and more than one million displaced, during the conflict in Darfur. Last week, I gave up on trying to get the latest news on the Sudan from the BBC. As I have no radio, I searched in the World/Africa section at BBC online but found no updates after 27/4.

I find it difficult to believe that it's wrong to expect up-to-date daily news from the BBC on events of this magnitude. On following Jim Moore's weblog and his links to the Passion of the Present, I'd read that 30,000 people died in the Sudan. The BBC states 10,000. A huge difference in reporting. How are we to know what is really going on? Events in the Sudan are described by the UN as the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

Sorry to disagree with you but I do believe it is a case of lack of reporting. Without up-to-date BBC reports how else can we know what is going on in the Sudan? Are tabloid newspapers like the Daily Mirror going to tell us?

Alternative media channels are driven by commercial considerations, which is why we need and fund a Public Broadcasting Service, so it is not hampered in the same way and is free to report on news that may not always appeal to the masses.

As for an agenda, surely it would not be right for our Prime Minister or any other person in government to set an agenda on what news should or should not be reported by our Public Broadcasting Service. The management at the BBC ought to know by its Charter and editorial policy what is fair and right.

Today, is the fourth day in a row that BBC online are headlining the Daily Mirror's reporting on Iraq. Yet another photo has been added. It depicts the Mirror's front page headline, in large capital letters: "we told the truth". God give me strength before I blow a gasket here.

What are the BBC and Daily Mirror, a commerically driven tabloid newspaper, trying to achieve? I cannot understand their objective. Why are they stretching out the point over so many days? To endanger the coalition personnel in Iraq? Undermine the hand-over to Iraq? Bring down the morale of coalition forces, its governments and leaders? Or have I missed something? I really don't get their rationale. Can you explain it or please prod someone at that editorial meeting to explain? Best of luck. And thanks again.

btw Balders commented here that he would be writing a piece on the Sudan - said he was doing some digging around first. Should be interesting, I'm looking forward to reading it. Best wishes. Good it sounds like you are getting over your flu.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 5/03/2004
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