News

Public interest or unjustified distress? Meeting 11:45am Thurs 23 Jan BH

Created on 21 Jan 2014

This month’s Editorial Policy Meeting will take place on Thursday 23rd January from 11.45am to 12.45pm in the Council Chamber, Old Broadcasting House.

The agenda will feature the following: Dealing with Harm and Offence in News

News, by its very nature often deals with distressing images and it is not always possible to avoid showing material that might upset some of our audiences before the watershed.  Conflicts such as the ones in Syria and the uprising in Egypt, have recently given rise to extremely distressing pictures of death and beatings. Ofcom received almost 680 complaints about our coverage, and other broadcasters’ reporting, of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. Last week there were a number of complaints about reports on the News At Six containing content of a “graphic” sexual nature, on the day we reported on our own investigation into internet child sexual abuse in the Philippines and the trials of Coronation Street actor, William Roache and former BBC Radio 1 presenter, Dave Lee Travis who are both accused of indecent assault.       

So have we gone too far in our reporting when dealing with some news stories involving death, violence or sexual attacks? How do we balance responsible journalism in the public interest and the need for accuracy with the risk of causing unjustified distress? 

Using a number of recent examples the meeting will explore how we do that both pre and post-watershed.

The meeting is open to all within the BBC to attend and take part. You do not need to book. You are welcome to send a deputy if you are unable to come or bring anyone else from your teams who may benefit from the discussion.

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