Newsnight, BBC2, 9 August 2012 and associated online and broadcast news coverage: Finding by the Editorial Complaints Unit

Complaint

The 9 August 2012 edition of Newsnight included a report on provision for seriously injured British troops in which the charity Help for Heroes (H4H) featured prominently as the subject of criticism.  The story was taken up by a number of BBC news programmes during that day, and covered on the BBC website.  A complaint by H4H was referred to the ECU for independent investigation.

 

Outcome

The BBC’s coverage gave the impression that H4H was responsible for shortcomings in the provision of support for wounded veterans, and the ECU found no evidence to justify this impression.  Although it was legitimate to report the concerns of veterans, the ECU found that two interviewees in the Newsnight report had been edited in a way which misrepresented them, that criticisms about overall support for veterans by a number of agencies were portrayed as specific criticism of H4H, and that the report did not properly reflect H4H’s response (though this was somewhat offset by the participation of an H4H representative in the studio discussion which followed).  The unfairness to H4H was reinforced by the coverage of the story in other BBC Outlets.

Upheld

Further action

The BBC has broadcast apologies to H4H on BBC2, Radio 1 and Radio 2.  The content of the relevant online pages has been removed, and replaced with information about H4H's complaint and the BBC's apology.

 

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