Yesterday there was one of the most devastating political attacks from members of all parties in the Lords on the Legal Aid bill. One of the key limbs of the welfare state is being taken apart by stealth, yet you will look in vain for any coverage on our national broadcaster.Over 1/2 million of the most vulnerable citizens losing access to justice-1 in every 100 people in the country, yet BBC TV has nothing.
This has been going on for months and months. Where is the story on Newsnight? Where are the questions on Question Time or Any Questions? When has Andrew Marr or Nick Robinson covered this? Where is the national coverage on the Politics show (as from regional stories). There is nothing. Does the BBC have any legal correspondents, if so why on earth are they not covering this? It seems to be an increasing trend. In the 1980's conscientious journalists made programmes about socially relevant issues-now there is a just a void
Nothing to do with Lord Patten of course; cause the Trust don't intefere with programming or coverage . . . . or do they . . .just controls the budget, business plan and monitors the 'complaints' about the coverage.
Heaven help the poor 'lad' or 'gal' who brings this up and brings in an avalanche of 'complaints' about uneven coverage from the 'gov' supporters.
First rule of government these days - control the media.
I have now had a reply to my complaint over the lack of coverage by BBC TV of the Legal Aid bill over the last year particularly the failure to have anything on Newsnight, the Politics Show (except in local areas), on Question Time, on Any Questions, by Andrew Marr or by Nick Robinson. This is the response
"Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC News coverage. I understand you are unhappy as feel there has been insufficient coverage on proposed cuts to legal aid. The choice of news stories to report in our programmes is frequently very difficult. We're more than aware that a report of great interest to one sector of our audience may be of little interest to another. Our audiences don't look at events in the same way and there's no one universal news agenda that applies to all. It must be noted there has been coverage on BBC Parliament regarding House of Lords debates on this very issue and there have been numerous online reports. You can find these reports chronologically listed on the link provided: www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/legal_aid Nevertheless as we’re guided by the feedback we receive I've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, the BBC News teams and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. Kind Regards John Murray BBC Complaints www.bbc.co.uk/complaints"
So they don't think "another sector" of the audience is interested. So much for the BBC's duty to educate and inform ( and the unwritten duty not to cop out, when dealing with what the government of the day is doing).
Looking at their complaints log summary the biggest complaints are about Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Master Chef.
We need to find someone celebrity, or food, or kitten based way of getting legal aid into the news and covered by their political and legal correspondents-otherwise it looks like our National Broadcaster once famous for its fearless coverage of social and political developments, thinks the focus groups will reach for the remote.
Anyone else want to have a go the complaints link is above. At least keep them thinking.
BBC Question Time fails again. Ken Clarke was on Question Time again last night and again they failed to have a single question on the Legal Aid bill, despite having John Prescott on also, who has spoken out strongly against Part 2 of the bill. Nothing on the 650,000 losing access to justice, nothing on the massive 77% Big Society legal aid cut to the voluntary sector. (However there was a question on the massively important issue that has been vexing the nation and will affect so many- the election of Police Commissioners.) Is there a BBC TV dictat not to cover this bill ?
Response to my latest complaint to BBC TV about the on-going failure of BBC TV to cover the legal aid cuts
“Thank you for contacting us regarding 'Question Time'. I understand you believe this programme failed to challenge Ken Clarke on legal aid cuts on 16 February and other occasions. We're well aware of our commitment to impartiality but it's simply not always possible or practical to reflect all the different opinions on a subject within individual programmes. Editors are charged to ensure that over a reasonable period they reflect the range of significant views, opinions and trends in their subject area. Nevertheless, we're guided by the feedback we receive from disappointed viewers. To this end, I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your concerns on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. Thanks again for taking the time to contact us. Kind Regards”
Appalling biased coverage on BBC 24. Going on about lawyers and special pleading. Nothing on the vast number of charities opposing the bill. No informed understanding of the issues. Disgrace. Des Hudson is on in half an hour on BBC24. Why is it only the Law Society that gets a look in why not the Nfp sector also ?
Nothing on Newsnight or the 10 o'clock news on the government's 3-0 loss on legal aid. However both had coverage on high earners' loss of child benefit. The BBC has pretty much been obsessed with cutting the 50p rate over recent months. Their news editors have skewed priorities.
Here's the response of the BBC to my latest complaint which was the failure to have any coverage whatsoever on the main 10 o'clock TV News of the 3 defeats in the Lords on Monday of the government on the Legal Aid bill
(however they did have time to cover the death of the actor playing the German submarine commander in an episode of Dad's Army and to show the famous "don't tell him Pike" clip, so they have their priorities well established).
Here's the response :
“Thank you for contacting us regarding 'BBC News at Ten', broadcast on 5 March.
I understand you were disappointed by the content of this programme as you expected information in relation to the Legal Aid bill.
Choosing the stories to include in our bulletins; the order in which they appear and the length of time devoted to them is a subjective matter and one which we know not every viewer will feel we get right every time. Factors such as whether it is news that has just come in and needs immediate coverage, how unusual the story is and how much national interest there is in the subject matter will all play a part in deciding the level of coverage and where it falls within a bulletin.
Essentially this is a judgement call rather than an exact science but BBC News does appreciate the feedback when viewers feel we may have overlooked or neglected a story. To this end, I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your concerns on our audience log.
This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. Thanks again for taking the time to contact us. Kind Regards
BBC Complaints www.bbc.co.uk/complaints NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.”