Corrections and Clarifications
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.
Wednesday 23rd January 2019: Question Time, BBC One and BBC Radio 5 live, 17 January 2019
A YouGov poll published on the day of the programme suggested a lead for the Conservatives but Diane Abbott was also right to say that some other polls suggested Labour either as ahead or tied, and we should have made that clear. We should normally report the findings of opinion polls in the context of trend and must always do so when reporting voting intention polls.
Thursday 17th January 2019: World at One, BBC Radio 4, 26 December 2018
We said that “over the past few decades… four fifths of Iraq's Christians have fled or been killed; in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as those following other religions have grown sharply in number, the Christian population has shrunk.” In the region as a whole, numbers are certainly continuing to fall. But in recent times Israel’s Christian population has increased - for example, in 2017, by 2.2%.
Thursday 10th January 2019: News at Ten, BBC One and BBC News Channel, 9 January 2019
The headlines reported the Prime Minister as saying that her plan was the only realistic one and the only way to avoid "crashing out" of the EU without a deal.
We should clarify this phrase was used in the debate by several MPs but not by the Prime Minister.
Friday 21st December 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 13 December 2018
It was said on the programme that the EU Referendum of 2016 was "the biggest vote in our country’s history".
In 2016 33.57 million votes were cast, including rejected papers.
More votes were actually cast in the 1992 General Election - a total of 33.61 million.
Thursday 13th December 2018: News Channel, 15 October 2018
In a report about African Penguins and why their numbers are in decline we said conservationists say their natural habitats are being hit by rising tides caused by climate change. While studies show climate change is having an impact on penguin numbers, it is because of rising sea temperatures affecting fish stocks, rather than rising sea levels. Other factors include commercial fishing practices, which are making it more difficult for African Penguins to find enough to eat and survive. We apologise for the error.
Monday 10th December 2018: BBC London News, BBC One London, 4 December 2018
In a report on plans for a new Holocaust memorial in Westminster, we referred to Adampol as a ‘Polish labour camp’.
We regret any upset this resulted in - a clearer description should have been used, to explain that it was a Nazi German camp located in Poland.
Thursday 29th October 2018: The World at One, BBC Radio 4, 2 August 2018
In a report on the history of the European Union, we said 10 new countries joined the 12 countries already in the EU in 2004. In fact there were 15 existing members by 2004, as Sweden, Finland and Austria had all joined in 1995.
Thursday 22nd November 2018: Today, Radio 4 and NewsHour, World Service, 30 October 2018
In a report about municipal elections in Jerusalem it was reported that Ramadan Dabash was on the ballot representing a Palestinian party and that this was a first. In fact this is not the case. A Palestinian candidate representing a Palestinian party also appeared on a ballot paper for the municipal council in 1998 and did not pass the voting threshold to win a seat.
Thursday 15th November 2018: Mediterranean With Simon Reeve, BBC Two, 21 October 2018
While visiting Sicily, it was stated that San Cataldo church in Palermo had previously been a Mosque. This was not accurate. The site of the Palermo Cathedral would have been a better example to choose to illustrate the diverse history of the city.
Thursday 15th November 2018: Reporting Scotland, BBC One Scotland, 12 November 2018
Reporting Scotland carried the story that Edinburgh Airport is helping police with their enquiries into sexual misconduct claims against Alex Salmond. The programme also said that a Police Scotland investigation into the former First Minister was launched after the Scottish National Party passed two complaints of sexual harassment to the authorities. This part of the story was incorrect. The complaints were made to the Scottish Government, not to the SNP. We apologise for this error.
Tuesday 13th November 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 18 August 2018
In a discussion about the Nord Stream gas pipeline which runs between Russia and Germany, Today reported on controversial plans to expand the pipeline which have been criticised by the US and some other countries in Europe. It was also reported that the existing pipeline, Nord Stream One, travels through Poland and Ukraine. In fact this is not correct, the pipeline runs from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, and Poland and Ukraine are among the countries opposed to the expansion plans.
Wednesday 17th October 2018: Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Two and BBC News Channel, 13 August 2018
During an item about homelessness, the Victoria Derbyshire programme interviewed a homeless man called Ashley who told us that he had been forced to leave home by his father because he is gay. His family subsequently contacted the BBC. They deny that Ashley’s sexuality was the reason why he became homeless and say it was for other reasons. We apologise that this was not reflected in the programme and for any distress caused.
Wednesday 10th October 2018: Today and World at One, BBC Radio 4, 8 October 2018
Today and World at One both examined the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which urges limiting temperature rises to no more than one and a half degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. On some (but not all) occasions we inadvertently referred to this as “1.5 per cent” rather than “1.5 degrees” in the course of our coverage. We apologise for the error.
Monday 8th October 2018: News bulletin, BBC Radio 4, 1 September 2018
A report referred to “the war that led to the creation of Israel". In fact, Israel declared its establishment after a UN vote recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states. The Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49, also known as the Israeli War of Independence, followed this.
Thursday 4th October 2018: London News (Late News), BBC One (London), 28 September 2018
During a report about Grenfell fraudster, Jenny McDonagh, we incorrectly identified an individual standing in a group outside court as McDonagh’s husband. This was wrong and we apologise for the mistake.
Wednesday 19th September 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 4 September 2018
In this edition of Today it was stated that the IHRA definition of antisemitism had “been accepted by almost every country in the world”. In fact, 31 member countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) supported the adoption of a non-legally binding Working Definition of Antisemitism to guide the organisation in its work on 26 May 2016.
To date, according to the IHRA, the working definition has been adopted and endorsed by the following governments and bodies: The United Kingdom (12 December 2016), Israel (22 January 2017), Austria (25 April 2017) Scotland (27 April 2017), Romania (25 May 2017), City of London (8 February 2017), Germany (20 September 2017), Bulgaria (18 October 2017), Lithuania (24 January 2018), and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (6 March 2018).
Wednesday 12th September 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 23 June 2018
In a discussion about the impact of Brexit on the economy of the North East of England, we said Treasury forecasts suggested the region’s economy would shrink by 11% even if there’s a comprehensive trade deal.
In fact, the Treasury paper says the North East economy is forecast to grow 11% less over 15 years with a trade deal than it would do if the UK were to remain in the EU.
Friday 7th September 2018: BBC Look North, BBC One (Yorks), 6 June 2018
On 6 June 2018 BBC Look North Presenter Amy Garcia introduced a studio guest to discuss a piece about US tariffs on steel using the phrase "as if Brexit wasn’t bad enough". We are sorry for the impression which may have been conveyed by this brief unscripted remark. Her intention was to convey the sense of the complexity of Brexit adding to the complications of tariffs from Donald Trump not to comment on its merits.
Thursday 23rd August 2018: News at One, BBC One and BBC News Channel, 22 August 2018
In reporting on an improvement in Scotland's public finances - with an increase in revenue and a reduction in the deficit - we said the Scottish government spent nearly thirteen and a half billion pounds more than it raised last year. This was incorrect - that figure covers all public sector expenditure in Scotland, including areas controlled by the UK government and other public bodies. We apologise for the error.
Monday 13th August 2018: BBC Look North, BBC One (Yorks), 20 July 2018
In our morning and lunchtime bulletins we mistakenly referred to Josh Warrington as the first boxing champion from Leeds. In fact, Michelle Sutcliffe became the city’s first WBF title holder in 2000.
Later editions correctly described Josh as the first male champion from Leeds.
Thursday 2nd August 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 4 July 2018
In this edition of Today it was stated that the EU currently buys three quarters of our fishing catch. In fact, this is the total proportion that is exported worldwide, not just to the EU.
Friday 27th July 2018: HARDtalk, BBC News Channel, 17 July 2018
Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's Minister for Law and Justice told the programme that 90% of retired senior civil servants who signed an open letter criticising the Government had campaigned against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in 2014.
We have been contacted by the signatories of that letter since the interview was broadcast. They say they did not exist as a group until 2017, they have no party political affiliation and it is absurd to suggest they made an appeal to influence the 2014 Parliamentary Elections.
Tuesday 17th July 2018: Thought for the Day, Radio 4, 29 May 2018
In this edition of Thought for the Day it was stated that 796 bodies of premature babies and young children were discovered at a mother and baby home in Ireland. At the time of broadcast, “significant human remains” had been found, but the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation had not confirmed the number of children involved.
Monday 9th July 2018: Today, Radio 4, 23 June 2018
In the introduction to a Nature Notes item about bees we referred to a Facebook post from Sir David Attenborough. However we quoted from a fan page on Facebook and not a site connected with Sir David personally. We should not have quoted the remarks or its statements about bee populations. We apologise for the error.
Monday 4th June 2018: BBC North West Tonight, 3 June 2018
On Sunday 3 June 2016 the 6.50pm bulletin of BBC North West Tonight reported on disciplinary action taken by Wigan Warriors Rugby League club against its players Joel and Sam Tomkins, following circulation on social media of an incident involving the brothers.
The report included in error a still picture of Wigan Warriors player Morgan Escare. We would like to stress that Mr Escare was not involved in the incident and apologise for any distress caused.
Monday 21st May 2018: Sunday Politics, BBC One (East Yorks and Lincs), 11 March 2018
In a regional edition of Sunday Politics, it was stated that Russia was the second largest supplier of the UK’s imported gas.
This in fact referred to EU imports, and there are no pipelines that allow Russian gas to flow to the UK from Norway (the biggest source of imports).
According to UK government figures: “The European transit system for gas is complex” but the UK has “little or no direct reliance on Russian gas”.
Thursday 17th May 2018: Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Two and BBC News Channel, 19 January 2018
During an item about the film Pad Man the programme used a graphic that said ‘90% of Indian women use rags, ashes or newspapers instead of sanitary products.’
This figure was taken from a 2011 survey and more recent studies give a different picture. For example in 2016 one survey of girls showed 74% use cloths and a different survey of teenage girls published in India in 2017 showed over 90% used either sanitary pads, cloths or tampons.
Tuesday 15th May 2018: Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Two and BBC News Channel, 20 March 2018
During an interview about the availability of high cost credit, Ed Miliband MP said that ‘the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) the people in charge of this, have fined BrightHouse nearly £15m and made them pay back money to customers because of the sharp practices. They’ve said they were not responsible lenders.’
In fact BrightHouse was not fined. Following discussions with the FCA, it agreed to pay back over £14.8 million to 249,000 customers who should have had refunds or who were not assessed properly to make sure they could afford the loans in the first place.
Thursday 10th May 2018: News at Ten, BBC One, 14 February 2018
In a report about the economic performance of the EU, we said that ‘nearly 50%’ of British exports go to the EU. We would like to clarify that UK exports of goods and services to the EU were 43% in 2016, and 44% in 2017. Exports of goods alone were 48% in 2016 and 50% in 2017. The share of UK exports of goods and services going to the EU has fallen over time, from 54% in 2006 to 44% last year.
Monday 23rd April 2018: Today, Radio 4, 23 April 2018
Today mistakenly said Carwyn Jones had been forced to stand down as First Minister in Wales and Labour leader because of the controversy over the suicide of one of his colleagues, Carl Sargeant, more than five months ago.
In fact, Mr Jones is in fact still in post and intends to go in the autumn, saying his departure would give his family, his party and his country a “fresh start.”
Friday 20th April 2018: Question Time, BBC One, 12 April 2018
Following a discussion on QT two contributors made reference to comments attributed to Ken Loach where he is reported to have said: “Unless we get Labour MPs who believe in that manifesto last year we won't get in power. If they've been going to the demonstration against him [Jeremy Corbyn] outside Westminster... those are the ones we need to kick out.”
Both contributors interpreted these comments from Mr Loach as referring to a recent anti-semitism demonstration at Westminster. Mr Loach has subsequently contacted the BBC to request the following clarification:
“Reports of a meeting in Bristol last week do not fairly reflect what I said about accountability of Labour MPs and recent demonstrations. For the record, this is my view, which I made clear at the meeting: re-selecting an MP should not be based on individual incidents but reflect the MP’s principles, actions and behaviour over a long period. Being an MP is not a job for life. Candidates should be selected for every election and party members should be able to make a democratic choice."
Thursday 19th April 2018: News at Six, BBC One and BBC News Channel, 3 April 2018
In our studio introduction to a report about Jeremy Corbyn’s attendance at a Jewdas event, we said it “has argued that there's no problem with anti-Semitism in Labour.” We accept this was an inaccurate summary of events - we should have said that Jewdas had referred to the recent row about anti-Semitism in Labour as being politically motivated.
Monday 16th April 2018: News At Ten, BBC One, 15 April 2018
In last night's BBC News at Ten, tea time bulletin and online we confused the identities of identical twin girls in a report on Syria.
One twin, Malaz, was shown being sprayed with water inside a hospital in Douma after surviving an alleged chemical weapons attack. She was incorrectly named as her identical twin sister Masa. This was followed by an interview with Masa recorded in the last few days.
The video shows both sisters required urgent medical treatment and were together in the hospital. The impression was left by our report that the pictures and interview related to the same child. We apologise for this error.
The family have now reached a refugee centre in northern Syria.
Friday 13th April 2018: Newsroom Live, BBC News Channel, 26 March 2018
During an interview about a call from Citizen’s Advice for a cap to be put on home credit loans, our use of pictures may have been taken as a sign that Citizen’s Advice were specifically referring to BrightHouse which was not the case and we are sorry this happened.
BrightHouse says it follows the rules and all credit applicants are subject to robust affordability checks and vulnerable customer procedures, and that it was authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority on this basis.
We did not include any response from BrightHouse in our item which was a mistake for which we apologise.
Thursday 12th April 2018: The Andrew Marr Show, BBC One, 5 November 2017
In the introduction to an interview it was mistakenly stated that the Balfour Declaration had spoken of the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Israel. The Declaration actually referred to the creation of this home in Palestine.
Wednesday 11th April 2018: News at Six, BBC One and BBC News Channel, 7 February 2018
During a report on the resignation of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, we incorrectly said that there had been a delayed response to a 999 call following a crash near the M9. The call had in fact been to 101.
Wednesday 11th April 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 27 October 2017
In an item on Syria on 27 October 2017, Today interviewed Reza Afshar. We said he was head of the Syrian team at the Foreign office and works at the organisation Independent Diplomat. We should have also made it clear he works with the Syrian Opposition.
Wednesday 4th April 2018: Human Planet, BBC One, 2011
The BBC has been alerted to a breach of editorial standards in an episode of Human Planet from 2011 which concerns the Korowai people of West Papua. During the making of BBC Two’s upcoming documentary series, My Year With The Tribe, a member of the tribe discusses how they have built very high tree houses for the benefit of overseas programme makers. The BBC has reviewed a sequence in Human Planet depicting this and found that the portrayal of the tribe moving into the treehouse as a real home is not accurate. Since this programme was broadcast in 2011, we have strengthened our mandatory training for all staff in editorial guidelines, standards and values.
Friday 23rd March 2018: Afternoon Live, BBC News Channel, 25 January 2018
Our correspondent misspoke on two occasions in the course of a live report. He said Holocaust Memorial Day was being ‘celebrated’ when he intended to say ‘commemorated.’ And he meant to give the figure of six million victims, not six thousand.
Thursday 22nd March 2018: Newsnight, BBC Two, 25 January 2018
During an interview with Jon Lansman, we stated that David Watson had been suspended from the Labour Party for anti-Semitic views and remarks.
Mr Watson has been suspended pending an investigation of unspecified breaches of Labour Party rules, with press reports at the time attributing this to allegations of anti-Semitism.
The Labour Party investigation is still ongoing and Mr Watson denies any claims of anti-Semitism, stating his suspension is “without justification” and that he has opposed racism and anti-Semitism all his life.
We are sorry we did not make this clear.
Wednesday 21st March 2018: Today, BBC Radio 4, 20 March 2018
During an interview with Professor Richard McLaren, presenter Rob Bonnet stated UK Anti-Doping wants a total ban on Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). However this is not the case, UK Anti-Doping believes there is a need for TUEs within anti-doping.
Wednesday 14th March 2018: This Week, BBC One, 5 March 2015
During an episode of This Week broadcast by the BBC on 5 March 2015, the BBC made a number of statements about Dr Haitham al-Haddad. One was that Dr al-Haddad believed that Jews were descended from pigs. Dr al-Haddad has made clear to the BBC that he has never stated that Jews were descended from pigs and that the BBC had referenced an incorrectly attributed sermon. The BBC accepts Dr al-Haddad's assurance that he has not stated that "Jews are descended from pigs". It has withdrawn this allegation and confirms that it will not repeat it.
Friday 9th February 2018: News at Ten, BBC One, 18 January 2018
In the introduction to a report on global temperatures, it was incorrectly stated that 2017 was the hottest year on record. In fact, it was the hottest year on record without the additional warming effect of a formally recognised El Niño event. The error did not occur in earlier bulletins.
Monday 15th January 2018: BBC News at Six, BBC One and BBC News Channel, 9 January 2018
A report on News at Six mistakenly used the annual figure, rather than the weekly one, for waiting times in A&E departments in Scotland.
The weekly figure for patients not seen within four hours was 5686. This was used in all subsequent bulletins and coverage.
Monday 8th January 2018: BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast, 3 January 2018
During a phone-in on the programme a contributor, Danielle Tiplady was introduced as a staff nurse. We should have established and made clear on air that she was a political activist.