Corrections and Clarifications

The BBC's responses to editorial, technical and corporate issues.

This page includes apologies, significant corrections, statements and responses. It does not include routine corrections to news stories, minor on-air apologies and schedule changes.

Corrections and clarifications are published in the order that they were issued.

News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Thursday 4 June 2020

BBC Breakfast

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Sunday 7 June 2020

We referred to George Floyd’s death as occurring during an encounter with white police officers. The officer who knelt on his neck is white, but two of the other three involved are not.



Jeremy Vine

BBC Radio 2, Wednesday 22 July 2020

In a discussion about cavity wall insulation it was claimed ‘in nearly a million cases it just went wrong.’ We should have made it clear that there are no national figures for the numbers of properties in which cavity wall insulation has failed, though industry insiders have indicated to the BBC an estimated 800,000 properties may be affected. There are more than thirteen million properties estimated to have this type of insulation in the UK.



News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Saturday 6 June 2020

We reported that a policewoman was injured after she ‘knocked herself off her horse’ in our coverage of Black Lives Matter protests in central London. It would have been better to have said that the policewoman had come off her horse. The circumstances of what exactly happened are being investigated.




BBC Two, Friday 10 July 2020

We reported that JK Rowling had written in her blog that gender was determined by biology. In fact she was describing the importance of biological sex.

One of her concerns about "the new trans activism" was what she described as its objective that "women must accept and admit there is no material difference between trans women and themselves."


Six O'Clock News

BBC Radio 4, Thursday 2 July 2020

A news report stated that a conservative commentator, Darren Grimes, describes his website as a safe space for racist and homophobic views.

In fact, Pink News reported on 29 May that he was talking about people labelled homophobic, transphobic or racist on account of their beliefs.

His exact quote was: “Do you hide your political views for fear of being called homophobic, a TERF, racist?”


BBC News at Six

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Wednesday 1 July 2020

A report from Chester featured pictures of the High Street and a variety of local retailers. We would like to make clear that the London Camera Exchange in the second floor Row in the historic centre of the city is open again now that lockdown has eased. It has nothing to do with the shop on the ground floor, which is not trading.



BBC Radio 4, Friday 5 June 2020

During the 8am news bulletin we reported that May this year was the hottest on record both globally and in the UK - according to Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme. In fact Copernicus found that global temperatures were 0.63 degrees warmer in May than the long term average for the month, with the highest temperatures recorded in Siberia, Antarctica and the Alaska. By contrast the Met Office says in the UK it was the sunniest May on record.



BBC Two, Thursday 2 April 2020

In an item on how charities were coping during lockdown, we wrongly stated that private schools in Scotland would be losing their charitable status. While the Non Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill will affect their eligibility for charitable tax rates relief, the status as a charity will in fact remain unchanged.


Broadcasting House

BBC Radio 4, Sunday 16 February 2020

It was claimed by a contributor that about one hundred people, mainly women, go to jail every year for not paying the TV Licence fee. In fact it is not possible to be imprisoned for licence fee evasion; it is the non-payment of a fine for licence fee evasion that can lead to a prison sentence. In 2018 five people were imprisoned for defaulting on payment of the fine in England and Wales.


Africa live page

BBC News Website, Tuesday 9 June 2020

An earlier entry on the live page wrongly reported Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as telling parliament that Ethiopia was "tired of begging" Egypt and Sudan over completion of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile River.

He was actually quoted by the Ethiopian News Agency as saying: "We are tired of begging and the desire to develop does not mean we have intentions to harm other countries".

We would like to apologise for the error, which was due to a misinterpretation of these comments and which has since been corrected on the page and in corresponding social media posts.


BBC Points West: Late News

BBC One West, Tuesday 9 June 2020

In the introduction to a report about the Colston monument being pulled down by protestors in Bristol we said "two of the people involved in tearing down the statue" were featured in the item. One of the men - Manoel Akure - has asked us to make it clear that he was not present when the sculpture was being removed, but he did stand on the empty plinth afterwards and made a speech and said prayers.



BBC Radio 4, Thursday 4 June 2020

In a review of the newspapers we referred to a Daily Telegraph story in which the former head of MI6, Richard Dearlove, said he believed the Coronavirus pandemic started “as an accident” when the virus somehow escaped from a laboratory in China. Our review said he'd seen new research by a Norwegian-British team, which claims to have discovered clues in COVID 19's genetic sequencing, suggesting it may not have evolved naturally. We also quoted the Daily Telegraph as saying "the study has not yet been accepted for publication in any scientific journal." In fact the Daily Telegraph reported that research was "judged to be of sufficient scientific merit to be accepted for publication in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery, a journal chaired by leading scientists from Stanford University and the University of Dundee." The Daily Telegraph went on to report that it is further analysis by the same team on this subject which has not yet been published.


BBC News at One

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Friday 27 March 2020

In a report about police fines for people who had breached new rules about movement under lockdown, we reported that "police say these are not criminal offences." In fact a breach of the 'stay at home' obligations in the regulations is a criminal offence.



BBC Two, Tuesday 26 May 2020

We would like to make absolutely clear that Emily Maitlis was not ‘removed’ or ‘suspended’ from last night’s programme, despite much speculation to the contrary. She herself has tweeted that she ‘asked for the night off’.

The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output. We reviewed the entirety of Newsnight on Tuesday May 26th, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme. As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines.

Newsnight has a long-established and recognised reputation for excellent journalism, for scrutinising arguments and for holding power to account, which it does on a daily basis, including the night in question.

Our editorial guidelines allow us to make professional judgments but not to express opinion.

The dividing line can be fine, but we aim to say so if we think we have overstepped the mark.

The introduction to Newsnight was intended as a summary of the issues that would be explored, with all the supporting facts and evidence, in the programme. But as broadcast, it risked giving the perception that the BBC was taking sides, and expressing an opinion, rather than being impartial.

It said that 'the country' was 'shocked the government cannot see' Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules; that he 'made those who struggled to keep the rules feel like fools'.

But there are some who do not share this opinion, nor think that the issue is a 'scandal' or the Prime Minister has displayed 'blind loyalty'.

By presenting a matter of public and political debate as if the country was unanimous in its view, we consider Newsnight risked giving the perception that the BBC was taking sides - or that the introduction constituted the presenter's opinions, rather than a summary of the journalism which would follow, which explored these issues rigorously and fairly and, crucially, with the supporting evidence.

This is not a question of apportioning blame to anyone.

It is a question of accountability to our audiences.

Our audiences hold the BBC in high trust, not least because we hold ourselves to exacting standards, and we do not want to forfeit this by ignoring our own rules.


BBC News Channel, Monday 11 May 2020

In an item dealing with various aspects of the UK Government's changes to the lockdown regulations for England, it was suggested that police in Wales would not be enforcing the continuing travel restrictions on someone who chose to drive into Wales, following the relaxing of rules in England. While the regulations now differ for people living just a few miles apart, on either side of the border, we have been asked to make clear that the policing of travel restrictions in Wales is continuing.



BBC One, Monday 27 April 2020

We received complaints from some viewers about the background information we provided about contributors to this edition of Panorama that dealt with, among other things, the inadequacy of the personal protective equipment (PPE) being provided to frontline NHS staff.

The interviewees in question were all selected on the basis of their direct NHS experience and expertise.

We spoke to dozens of health care workers during the making of the programme and they all had concerns about the lack of proper PPE. These concerns have also been reflected by the British Medical Association and the Royal Colleges.

None of our interviewees was sourced through a political party, union or professional body. Each was speaking from their own personal experience of providing care to patients with COVID-19. One of our interviewees was a trade union representative and was identified as such in the programme.

One contributor, Dr Sonia Adesara, stood as a Labour candidate in a local election in 2017, and appeared in a Labour Party election broadcast before last year's election.

We acknowledge that mentioning this would have helped viewers make their own assessment about her comments, although we do not consider it cast doubt on the validity of her concerns: Panorama established for itself the shortages that concerned her, including the rationing of PPE in high risk areas.

The programme's revelations about the PPE shortages did not come from any of the contributors and have not been disputed since the programme was broadcast.


The Andrew Marr Show

BBC One, Sunday 3 May 2020

In an interview about the ITV drama Isolation Story we spoke to Janine Marsan who filmed some scenes involving her husband, the actor Eddie Marsan, on a smart phone. We've been asked to make clear the director of Isolation Story is David Blair and he supervised Janine remotely while she was filming.


BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Tuesday 5 May 2020

In a report that included a photograph of a packed Air Lingus flight, we carried a clip from a BBC Radio Foyle interview with the chief executive of Loganair, Jonathan Hinkles, who spoke about the difficulties of social distancing on aeroplanes. We should make clear that Mr Hinkles was speaking before the news of the Air Lingus flight came out.


Broadcasting House

BBC Radio 4, Sunday 26 April 2020

In the newspaper review, a contributor, Trevor Phillips, suggested that the Muslim Council of Britain had aligned itself with a group that had called President Obama and the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo Islamaphobes. We're happy to make clear that the MCB says it is not aligned with this group and does not support these comments.


BBC News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Friday 17 April 2020

An interview with our correspondent about the changes to the official PPE guidance over wearing intensive care gowns omitted to mention that this related to England. Healthcare workers were advised to reuse gowns or wear different kit if stocks ran low.

The Scottish and Welsh governments had both indicated that they would not be making changes to their guidance because they had adequate stocks.



BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 21 April 2020

In a report about cybercrime during the Coronavirus pandemic we reported that the National Cyber Security Centre has issued new advice on video conferencing software suggesting users make meetings public. The NCSC advice is in fact the opposite, that meetings should be made private.


BBC News

Friday 17 April 2020

We reported across different outlets and platforms that a boss of an NHS Trust had contacted the BBC with concerns about the shortage of gowns for the Coronavirus crisis. He had asked us for the phone numbers of Burberry and Barbour - both trying to aid supply.

The person concerned is not in fact the boss of an NHS Trust but part of a network of organisations helping to source personal protective equipment for some Trusts.

The mistake was caused by a misunderstanding of the person’s role in the fight against the pandemic.


BBC Breakfast

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Saturday 18 January 2020

During the newspaper review, our guest Phil Hall questioned whether or not the Duchess of Sussex wanted 'a quiet life' by referring to a photograph of her in the Daily Telegraph that he said had been taken the previous day. It was in fact taken in 2016.



BBC Radio 4, Friday 10 April 2020

We reported that Imperial College London had had complaints from staff after a decision to reopen some communal living spaces at the University. Although some staff expressed their concerns directly to the BBC, Imperial itself received no complaints about the move.


BBC News Channel, Thursday 2 January 2020

We said "the Scottish government will end its contract with Scotrail early because of poor performance".

The contract was actually with Abellio.

ScotRail is the brand name for all Scottish regional and commuter services.


World at One

BBC Radio 4, Thursday 31 October 2019

In a discussion about Labour's tax plans we said the wealthiest 1% in the UK 'carry about 27% of the tax base'. We should have made it clear this was a reference to the proportion of income tax paid by this group, not the total proportion of taxes the top 1% pay overall.


1pm News Bulletin

BBC Radio 4, Saturday 14 March 2020

In a report about Coronavirus in Italy the number of deaths was said to be more than 12,000. In fact the total number of deaths to date on that day was 1,441 - up from 1,266 the day before.


The Andrew Marr Show

BBC One and BBC Parliament, Sunday 8 March 2020

In an interview it was claimed that there were 700,000 homeless deaths in the UK last year. In fact the most recent estimate from the Office for National Statistics for 2018 puts the figure at 726.


BBC News at Six

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Monday 2 March 2020

An introduction to a report on how businesses are preparing for the impact of coronavirus said a global growth forecast had been cut and "markets again fell". In fact both the FTSE 100 and the Dow Jones had rebounded from their previous losses on that day.


Midnight News

BBC Radio 4, Thursday 5 December 2019

In a report about the Non Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, we wrongly stated that private schools would be losing their charitable status. While the Bill would affect their eligibility for charitable tax rates relief, the status as a charity would remain unchanged.


Question Time

BBC One and BBC Radio 5 Live, Thursday 28 November 2019

In an edition of this programme, a panellist claimed Virgin had made a profit of £200m in the NHS in recent years and not paid any tax.

Virgin has contacted us since to point out that the Virgin Care group of companies has never generated a profit overall and no corporation tax has ever been due.


Laura Kuenssberg

Twitter, Tuesday 24 September 2019

The shadow Business Secretary commented on moves to abolish the post of Deputy Labour leader during Labour's Party Conference in a BBC interview. Her remarks were paraphrased by our Political Editor who tweeted: "Rebecca Long Bailey told @BBCr4today she voted for the plan to abolish Tom Watson's position because she didn't want to 'stifle democracy'."

To be clear, she meant that Ms Long Bailey had voted for the motion to be discussed.


BBC News at Ten

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Tuesday 17 September 2019

In a report about how the UK might achieve zero carbon emissions, a graph entitled 'Changing UK Energy Mix' showed how sources of energy have changed in the UK since 1990. We should have made it clear that the figures related to the UK's electricity supply only.


BBC News at Six

BBC One and BBC News Channel, Wednesday 30 October 2019

The programme included a report about the release of a study from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), which found that by 2029 Boris Johnson's Brexit deal would leave the UK £70bn worse off than if it had remained in the EU.

When introducing this report the newsreader misspoke, inaccurately referring to how the NIESR forecast that the deal would "...leave the UK 70 billion pounds a year worse off".

We apologise for this error.