BBC APOLOGISES TO BLAIR. Oh, sorry, I meant GELDOF. Well, it’s a start

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    5th November 2010

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    There are two BBC matters of current interest today.

    Firstly their strike over pensions. My adjustment of their picture at the Press Gazette reminds us of yesterday’s matter of BBC interest. This, second matter, aired yesterday, concerned their apology for  “the unfair impression” created by their Band Aid claims earlier this year.

    The BBC apologised over reports claiming millions of pounds raised by Band Aid in the 1980s was used to buy arms. In March, the BBC World Service’s ‘Assignment’ said cash raised by charities to help Ethiopia had been diverted by rebels. Now the BBC apologises – “unreservedly” – for giving that impression.

    [Watch BBC’s short apology report here. Fuller coverage here]

    Laced with “ah, but…” provisos, this reluctant apology is at least something. Something seldom, if ever, afforded to politicians whom the BBC frequently misrepresents, purposely or not. Usually, in my experience, not “NOT”.

    Right now there are other complaints lodged at the BBC Trust’s complaints department concerning the coverage of the Iraq Inquiry by the world’s best known, widest distributed and ‘most trusted’ media outlet, which I will deal with in the next post.


    Much of the BBC’s content for domestic viewers can be heard again, late at night for  insomnolents, on BBC World Services, following on from Radio 4′s transmission at 1:00am GMT.  I often catch it, and I conclude that much of it is very interesting and worth hearing.

    But this is not just one-way traffic, Radio 4 to World Service. We Brits may catch their programmes on Radios 2/4/5 then they go worldwide on their network.  But we need to note that this dissemination of seemingly authoritative truths/untruths works both ways. As with the Band Aid story some of the BBC’s faulty reporting originates from their overseas branches. In that particular case from the BBC World Services, Africa.

    Excerpt, BBC website:

    ‘The original investigation by BBC World Service Africa editor Martin Plaut included claims that substantial amounts of aid from western governments and charities went into rebel-held areas of Tigray province in 1985 and was used to buy weapons.’

    In other words non-British citizens are hearing and probably absorbing as indisputable fact the ‘trusty’ BBC’s take on major issues ABOUT this country. I wonder if they hear as loudly BBC retractions?

    It’s more than a pity that other countries are hearing distortions from the beloved BBC. The radio station to which even the world’s long-term political prisoners have been known to tune into daily for the truth the whole truth and nothing but …

    It is actually potentially verging on criminal irresponsibility in its far-reaching consequences if the BBC knowingly misrepresents in order to further its own agenda. Especially given the growing reach of the service. In June 2004- their radio service “the world’s most trusted” had 146 million weekly listeners.


    ‘BBC World Service remains the world’s leading international radio broadcaster with a weekly global audience estimate of 146 million, according to new audience figures released today (Monday 21 June).

    This equates to at least 50 per cent more listeners than any comparable international radio broadcaster.

    Independent surveys in top markets also showed that the BBC World Service is the most trusted and objective international broadcaster when compared to its main radio competitors in each market.’

    And in May 2006 the BBC Press Office reported –

    ‘BBC World Service now attracts 163 million weekly radio listeners to its 33 language services – a record audience for the world’s best-known and most respected international broadcaster, according to figures announced today.

    The new weekly audience figure, compiled from independent surveys around the globe, is an increase of 14 million on last year’s figure of 149 million.

    The new figure equates to around 50 per cent more listeners than any comparable international broadcaster.

    This new figure smashes the previous BBC World Service record audience of 153 million in 2001.’


    By June 2009 that audience number had risen 188 million, as reported here, again in a BBC press release.

    That’s 146/163/ 188 million listeners per week, not per year.

    Further to that it also reported that the ‘BBC’s Global News division attracts a record weekly global audience of 238 million people to its international news services including BBC World Service and the BBC World News television channel, according to independent surveys. Last year’s audience totalled 233 million.’

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