Corrections and Clarifications - Archive: October - December 2016

This page contains the BBC's responses to editorial, technical and corporate issues. It includes apologies, significant corrections, statements and responses, and findings from the BBC Trust.

It does not include routine corrections to news stories, minor on-air apologies and schedule changes.

Tuesday 6 December 2016: Reporting Scotland, BBC One Scotland, Tuesday 29 November

On the 6.30pm edition of the television news programme Reporting Scotland, broadcast on BBC One Scotland on Tuesday 29 November, an error was made in an on-screen caption naming the Irish Foreign Minister (where the word ‘Minister’ was inadvertently replaced by the word ‘Abuse’, which had been intended to relate to a different story).

We would like to apologise to the Minister for any embarrassment and upset this error may have occasioned. The correct caption was broadcast in the late evening edition of the programme on 29 November.

Tuesday 6 December 2016: Six O'Clock News, BBC One, Friday 29 July 2016

The bulletin included a report on the Pope’s visit to Auschwitz.  Lord Alton and Fr Leo Chamberlain of Ampleforth jointly complained that the reporter had presented a disputed view of the stance of the Catholic Church in relation to the Third Reich as if it were established fact.

The reporter said “Silence was the response of the Catholic Church when Nazi Germany demonised Jewish people and then attempted to eradicate Jews from Europe”.  In the judgement of the ECU, this did not give due weight to public statements by successive Popes or the efforts made on the instructions of Pius XII to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution, and perpetuated a view which is at odds with the balance of evidence.

The complaint was upheld. The finding has been brought to the attention of the editorial team responsible for the report so that any future coverage might reflect historical understanding more closely.

Heysel disaster: 30th anniversary marked in England, Belgium & Italy; Heysel disaster: English football’s forgotten tragedy?, bbc.co.uk

A reader of these articles had complained about the statement (which occurred in both of them): Thirty-nine fans died when an internal wall collapsed at the ground in Brussels before the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus”

As a result, it was changed to read: Thirty-nine fans died when people were crushed against a wall that then collapsed at the ground in Brussels before the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus”. 

He then complained to the ECU that the new form of words was also inaccurate as a description of a situation in which deaths had occurred at some distance from the wall, and there was no reason to believe that the wall’s collapse had caused any deaths. 

In the ECU’s view, the revised statement did not convey the impression that deaths had resulted directly from the collapse of the wall, and was duly accurate as a description of a situation where the wall had blocked a possible avenue of retreat by the Juventus fans. 

This aspect of the complaint was therefore resolved.  However, the second article also contained the sentence: Fleeing the threat, the latter (ie the Juventus supporters) ran towards a concrete retaining wall, which collapsed as they began to climb over, killing 39 people” (which had been overlooked when the changes noted above were made). 

This perpetuated the impression the reader had complained of, and his complaint was upheld in that respect.

The complaint was resolved/upheld and the second article was corrected.

Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Two & BBC News Channel, 6 June 2016

A viewer complained that, during a debate on the issues in the referendum campaign, Victoria Derbyshire had misleadingly suggested that reallocating the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget to other areas such as the NHS would have a severe impact on farm subsidies.

Challenging a point made by Jane Collins MEP, Victoria Derbyshire said “if that £8.5bn went to the NHS, that would mean farmers who get more than 50% of their income from the EU would be decimated”.

This reflected a confusion between the UK’s net contribution (of £8.5bn after payments from the EU to the UK, including agricultural subsidies, have been taken into account) and its gross contribution. 

Although Ms Collins tried to rebut the suggestion, she did not do so in terms which would have removed the misleading impression.

The complaint was upheld and the relevant information was drawn to the presenter’s attention after the broadcast, and will be borne in mind when the programme returns to the subject.

Newshour, BBC World Service, 22 February 2016

News bulletins, World Service, 22 February 2016 

BBC Arabic online

Tweets, Mohamed Yehia, 22 February 2016

Yemen conflict: Al-Qaeda joins coalition battle for Taiz, bbc.co.uk

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates complained that these items gave the misleading impression that troops from coalition forces (including those of the UAE) had been fighting alongside those of al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Although it was made clear in the body of Newshour that coalition forces had not engaged the Houthis on the same occasions and in the same places as al-Qaeda, the introduction to the programme, and the further items which drew on it, gave the impression that they had been fighting alongside each other.  This was misleading.

The complaint was upheld and online items were edited to remove the misleading impression.

Newsnight, BBC Two, 27 September 2016

In a Newsnight interview, Evan Davis said the Welsh government has “got the power to raise income tax. They are not using that power.”

In fact, powers to vary income tax are still in the process of being devolved in the Wales Bill currently going through Parliament.

It is, however, accurate to say that the current majority Labour administration in Wales went into the last election with a manifesto promising that it would “guarantee not to increase income tax in the next Assembly term when these powers are devolved to the Welsh Parliament."

'Women write better code, study suggests', BBC News online

A reader complained that the headline of this article was misleading, that the study on which it was based was so flawed as not to merit reporting, and that the terms of the report were not duly impartial in relation to the question of the benefits or otherwise of workforce diversity in particular fields of employment.

Whether the study should have been reported was a matter of legitimate editorial discretion and, in the ECU’s view, the article did not deal with matters which were controversial in the sense which would require a balance of views.  However, there were no grounds for believing that the women among the cohort selected by the study were representative of women in general, and thus no basis for generalising about women’s relative ability.  To that extent, the headline was inaccurate.

The complaint was partially upheld. The headline and the text of the article have been amended to reflect the finding.

Read the complaint and our findings on the BBC Complaints website. 

'Diabetes: The Hidden Killer', Panorama, BBC One, 3 October 2016

In this programme Type One Diabetes was referred to as “the sort you’re born with.” We acknowledge that this is not a medically accurate description.  

Although it commonly develops  in childhood, often to genetically predisposed individuals, Type One diabetes can develop at any age. It results from immune mediated injury to the pancreas and it is not known exactly what triggers the immune system to attack the pancreas.