Trust ‘welcomes’ progress in Arab uprisings coverage
The BBC Trust says it is "pleased" by actions from BBC News to improve coverage of uprisings in the Arab region.
However it adds the BBC Executive should consider reflecting a broader range of international reaction more often, in addition to those from the UK, US and France.
In a follow-up report to last year's impartiality review on the Arab Spring, the Trust welcomed actions including the increase in broadcast trails for online content, especially in output with younger audiences, such as Radio 1's Newsbeat and the Asian Network.
The BBC also said Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen regularly attended News board meetings to provide analysis, which has contributed to coverage priorities each quarter.
Since last year's review, the BBC has adopted special wording for all user generated footage where independent verification is not possible, explaining it is not able to fully authenticate footage but that clips are believed to be genuine based on additional checks.
In May, Ian Pannell reported from Syria that, "A local activist gave us this footage. He says it was taken as the shells landed. We can't verify these images but all the videos you are going to see were apparently taken on the same day by different people we met."Additional steps
After conducting the Trust's impartiality review last year, Middle East specialist Edward Mortimer said there was "a bit of a tendency" for the BBC to throw all its resources at "the big story" to the detriment of other events across the Arab region.
Since then the BBC has introduced changes including:
- upgrading the post of sponsored reporter in Cairo to a full correspondent
- the use of a "story champion" for Syria to promote stories that are significant and long-running
- increasing knowledge with seminars and briefings from the internal Analysis & Research site
- the use of "stand-back moments" at News Editorial board meetings to consider broader issues such as the impact of Egypt's economic problems
- the use of an electronic grid to record reporting and plan coverage
A BBC spokeswoman said: "We note the findings of the report. We are pleased to see the Trust acknowledging the additional steps we have taken and that much progress has been made.
"This builds on the broad support for our coverage as a whole and the overall recognition of much 'outstanding' and 'remarkable' journalism outlined in the original report."
She added the BBC would ensure audiences "gain the best possible understanding of this complex and fast moving story".
You can read the BBC Trust report here.