Tag Archives: media

My complaint to the BBC about lack of coverage of #NoMoreAusterity

I have just submitted the following complaint to the BBC:

I was shocked and disappointed not to see any coverage on your news website or iPhone news app either yesterday or so far today about the “No More Austerity” march in central London yesterday. An estimated 50,000 people attended the march which was addressed by people including Caroline Lucas MP and TV personality Russell Brand. The crowd were protesting peacefully against the government’s relentless austerity measures and its dire effects on public services and the poor and vulnerable in society. In the afternoon yesterday, Russia Today reported on the march. Later in the evening the Guardian reported on it.  Members of your news staff on Twitter such as @jameshardy61, @tobycastle and @charlierose1 had not tweeted about it despite (re)tweeting other news items in the previous few hours, and did not reply to my tweets asking why this was. This lack of coverage of a large protest is craven to the government and as such a complete betrayal of your values as a public service broadcaster. BBC current affairs has become the shame of a once-great broadcasting service. I await your explanation of the reasons for the lack of coverage with great interest.

Send your own complaint here.

My complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about the Daily Mail’s vile coverage of the Mick Philpott verdict

Daily Mail front page 3/4/13

Yesterday the Daily Mail published the front page pictured here.

To clarify, the first subhead reads: “Man who bred 17 babies by 5 women to milk benefits system is guilty of killing 6 of them”.

This report came two days after the coalition introduced huge changes to the benefits system affecting hundreds of thousands of people. (The report was also published on the same day that the BBC, with unbelievable insensitivity, published a “class calculator” on its website.)

Following the advice in Zoe Williams’ excellent article on the Mail’s vile piece, I picked my head up off the table and submitted a complaint to the PCC about the article. When you do this, the complaint form asks you to state why you believe the story breached its Editors’ Code of Practice. I submitted the following complaint:

This piece of “journalism”, aside from offending common decency and intelligence in every way conceivable, breaches the code in the following ways:

1) accuracy: it is not accurate to maintain that Mick Philpott committed this terrible crime because he was on benefits. He did so because he was jealous and greedy to a psychopathic extent.

2) opportunity to reply: the children he killed do not have the opportunity to reply. Neither did they ask to be born to this man.

3) privacy: it is an invasion of the dead children’s privacy to publicise their photographs on the front page, especially with the claim that they were simply “bred” by Philpott.

4) harrassment: this article effectively harrasses genuine claimants of state benefits by positing falsely that Philpott’s crimes were linked to his benefit claims.

5) intrusion into grief or shock: several children were killed by this man. Everyone in the family as well as self-respecting members of the public (especially in the Derby community) would be grieving and appalled at the usage of dead children to score political points.

6) children: these children are dead. They also had siblings now potentially tainted by association. Does that not say enough?

7) reporting of crime: the Code says “Particular regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children who witness, or are victims of, crime.” Again, no such regard was paid to either the dead children or their surviving siblings for the above reasons.

8) discrimination: the article discriminates against Philpott and his family, as well as any other benefit claimants, for being “vile products of welfare UK”.

This news story is about a terrible, tragic crime and whilst it is in the interests of the public to know what Philpott did, it is not in its interests to be told that his being on state benefits had anything to do with the killing of the children.

I await the PCC’s response to my complaint.