Broadcaster upholds complaint against live use of the phrase
Today the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) issued an amendment, upholding a complaint of mischaracterisation of protesters as “far-right” who were attending a protest against the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) back in April.
In the live BBC news at 5:35 p.m. on April 15 (the day of the protest), a reporter made the comment that “Local protesters and mainstream politicians were joined by conspiracy theorists and far-right groups.”
This broadcast received 44 complaints, including about the perceived inaccuracy of the label used. Today, the BBC stated that the label “conspiracy theorists” had sufficient evidence to be justified but the label “far-right,” did not.
Present at the protest, a reporter for The Epoch Times did not see any groups characterised as “far right” at the event. A BBC spokesperson originally responded to The Epoch Times, saying: “We are satisfied the protest was covered accurately and the script was a fair description of the people and groups attending the event. Viewers were also directed to the BBC London website for a comprehensive look at the arguments for and against ULEZ.”
Now however, the BBC said in their statement: “In relation to ‘far right groups,’ we recognised that the groups named above might have far right (or indeed far left) adherents, but did not consider this to be evidence of the presence of ‘far right groups.’”
No Grounds for Original Conclusion
Explaining the use of the words, they said: “The programme-makers directed our attention to the deployment by some demonstrators of Nazi imagery, symbolism, and slogans directed against the Mayor of London which we accepted was consistent with tactics used predominantly by certain far right groups.”
However, the statement continues, “We saw no grounds for concluding that they were used exclusively by such groups.”
In a step back altogether from the connotations of the original wording, the BBC upheld that “In our judgement it was suggestive of the presence of far right groups but fell short of establishing that such groups had in fact been represented among the demonstrators.”