BBC News, England riots coverage


We have received complaints from viewers who felt that Fiona Armstrong was rude towards Darcus Howe and accused him of taking part in riots during her interview on the BBC News Channel that was broadcast on 9 August 2011.

BBC News' response

We forwarded concerns on this issue to BBC News Channel Editors and while they accept that this interview was not ideal, they stressed that the presenter did not intend to show Mr Howe any disrespect and the questions were simply intended to gauge his reaction to the events in Croydon the night before.

In particular they acknowledge that the interview included a poorly phrased question about rioting. This can and does happen on occasions during live interviews and was compounded by a number of technical issues during the interview which led to the presenter and Mr Howe talking over each other.

Therefore while Fiona Armstrong was trying to make a general point about protests, we'd like to apologise for any offence that this interview has caused.


We have received complaints from viewers who feel that the BBC News Channel incorrectly referred to "UK riots" rather than "England riots."

BBC News' response

In response to complaints on this issue, our coverage was initially guided by the fact that, while the disturbances were in England, the story and its implications had an impact on the UK as a whole - hence the UK Prime Minister returning early from his holiday and his subsequent decision to recall the UK Parliament.

Within the wider media we were not alone in taking this approach but as the story has continued, with the trouble confined to several cities and towns in England and in recognition of the sensitivities involved for people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we have decided to change to “England riots” in the interest of geographical precision and better clarity for our audience.


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