Date: 04.10.2012 Last updated: 06.10.2014 at 12.20
This was a small informal event hosted by Audience Council Wales with around a dozen of the BBC’s audiences living in south-east Wales from amongst the ethnic Chinese community. It was mixed in terms of age and gender.
Participants said that the media interests of people from an
ethnic Chinese background tended to change between the generations, so a first
generation immigrant from China might now watch anything more than sport and
not necessarily watch any TV programming that required greater language skills. Second
generation Chinese people living in Wales tended to participate to a much more
significant degree in the nation’s life, and would watch a much greater range
of TV output, but would still pay particular
attention to anything relating to China.
Most participants considered it a key source of satisfaction
that no advertisements appeared on the BBC’s TV output. They considered it
wrong that the cost of the licence fee should have been fixed for such a
significant period of time – and thought the cost should be linked to
inflation. Some participants however wondered whether it was fair that you had
to pay the same licence fee regardless of the number of people in a household.
They felt that there should be less swearing on TV - with
some of the opinion that some programmes had gratuitous swearing within them.
Some felt that children had little or no parental influence upon them in
contemporary society and felt therefore that the BBC could be a good influence
on them. Cbeebies was felt to be a good influence on young children and to lay
down a foundation for future conduct.
Some disappointment was
expressed that there were no ethnic Chinese presenters used by the BBC though it
was good that Cbeebies had a presenter of Far Eastern ethnic origin, and that
it was always good to see presenters and contributors from the Far East
featured. They felt that this paucity of ethnic Chinese presenters was at odds
with the situation in other countries such as Canada and Australia. There was
also a feeling that there were many great stories within the ethnic Chinese
community in Wales and the wider UK and that it was a shame therefore that
these weren’t shared with the population at large.
Several participants agreed that quality,authority and
authenticity were the hallmarks of the BBC’s productions, but that this had
negative as well as positive aspects to it and some felt that, occasionally,
the BBC was guilty of presenting widely held theories as fact.
History of the World was particularly mentioned as a first class example of
excellence from the BBC stable, with some participants expressing the hope that
it would be made available on DVD.
They said that they loved comedy programmes such as Gavin
& Stacey and wondered whether a Chinese ‘ethnic minority’ version could
work for audiences - citing Citizen Khan as an excellent example in this
While participants said they enjoyed drama on the BBC’s TV
output, with Doctor Who and Gavin and Stacey specifically
mentioned, they expressed regret that the BBC was not producing as many
historical dramas as in the past. A great deal of pride was expressed that
Cardiff, Newport and the south Wales area was now associated with high quality
shows like Doctor Who. Call the Midwife was considered a very
good drama, and a former midwife, who was present, considered it a good
reflection of midwifery during the period in which it was set.
Other examples of programmes enjoyed included Frozen
Planet, Merlin, Strictly Come Dancing , The One Show, Coast
and Dan Snow’s historical programmes. Cash in the Attic and Bargain
Hunt were also enjoyed by several participants. One participant said: “I
like it when they show material about Wales. I really enjoyed The Story of
Wales. The BBC should show more about Wales and its history.”
The participants were
very appreciative of an edition of Question Time, which had been
broadcast from Beijing, and considered that Lord Patten had been a superb
panellist alongside other panellists from the Chinese Government and in front
of an audience drawn from Beijing. They also praised the edition of Question
Time which had been broadcast from Russia.
The BBC’s programmes were thought generally to be of a very high
quality. Many participants loved listening to the radio with Radio 4, Radio 2
and Radio 3 favourites amongst participants. One participant said however that
his children listened to Capital Radio FM in the mornings, because they liked
Several said they loved Radio Wales in the morning – “I’ve no
time to read to read a newspaper so can catch up with all the news on Radio
Wales in the morning”.
Making reference to the Jason Mohammed show, some participants
said that while they enjoyed the programme “people get heated during the debates and go on a bit too
Other said that they enjoyed the Roy Noble show.
Jeremy Vine was praised for being very fair in presenting
arguments and was considered to have a “nice way” when asking questions.
Interactive, on-line services and knowledge & Learning
bbc.co.uk was extensively used for catching up on News by participants
and the iPlayer was also used a lot.
Participants expressed their appreciation of the BBC
Bitesize educational material available on-line and looked forward to having
the knowledge and learning provision expanded in future. Some considered that
the BBC had a key role to play in contributing to the development of basic and
core skills such as numeracy and literacy.
There was an expectation that the BBC also had an important
role in educating the population at large, with a recent examples being Mary
Beard’s TV series on Roman Civilization and Brian Cox’s TV programmes on
science. They considered that the BBC could also contribute to language
learning and helping people improve their English, not just for people from
ethnic minority backgrounds. Child of our Time was praised and it was
said that children had enjoyed the series.
News and Current Affairs
The BBC considered the best for News but international news was considered to have too low a profile on much of BBC UK Network news with the vast majority of News’ time given to the UK, Europe and the USA, with little attention given to the rest of the world. CNN was mentioned as being much better for covering international affairs than the BBC’s UK News service. However, BBC World, when accessed outside the UK, was considered good at providing world-wide news.
There was a perception that BBC News lacked impartiality in relation to reporting on China, with participants perceiving a bias against China. They felt that this had changed during the past 10 – 15 years, and that in the past they felt the BBC had been pro-China to a much greater extent, during the period when it was an emerging economy. Now they felt the tone was far more critical and that criticism of the governing regime should be differentiated from comments on the country. They accepted that human rights issues by the country’s governing regime should properly be highlighted, but that it had not been appropriate, for example, to do so ‘ad nauseum’ during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. While news coverage of China was appreciated, there was a perception that too much emphasis was placed on covering human rights issues rather than the wider picture of the country beyond the governing regime – “Human Rights issues seems to be the only news from China on the BBC”.
The perception of some participants was also that the BBC demonstrated bias against China when discussing ‘Asian struggles’ and some also made the point that it was important for several perspectives to be shown on Chinese stories so that they had a better opportunity to draw their own conclusions from the information available.
They praised the use of Mandarin speaking reporters in News reports since they felt this enabled the journalist to achieve good, tough but impartial reporting.
Match of the day was considered an ‘appointment to view’ by
many of the participants.
The BBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games was considered first
class. Its coverage of the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations had also been