BBC news priorities need a second look
Friday, 05 December 2008 08:47

The BBC has a great responsibility. It is responsible for telling the nation what is going on in the country and the world. Most people are too busy to read newspapers or news websites so they take their news from the radio or television.

The presenter of that news has a huge responsibility, who controls the media and in particular the BBC controls what the people know and what they think about it.

How does the BBC decide the order of presentation of the news, and how long to spend on each item?

Take yesterday as a typical example.

The 'Sharron Matthews case' verdict was announced. In the 6 o'clock news on Radio 4 the BBC spent almost a quarter of the whole bulletin going into the sordid details of the case and giving airtime to police and Crown Prosecution Service officials to make statements.

This case is not really that newsworthy. Certainly not worth the time it was given. The police and CPS have no business commenting on cases like this on the steps of the court immediately after the trial has finished. They should not be making comments labelling someone as 'pure evil' that is not their job and it's a waste of police and CPS time. Pure indulence and nothing more.

This case required no more than a mere mention at the end of the bulletin if it was mentioned at all.

The most important news was pushed down to agenda, almost to the end.

The government's policy of keeping the DNA profiles and fingerprints of everyone who has been arrested was judged a breach of human rights. You might not think that's very exciting or interesting but it affects thousands of innocent people whose profiles have been kept for no good reason. It is an injustice, and one that should never have taken place.

The BBC needs to get its news priorities right - leave the salacious gossip to the tabloids and deliver the truth in an appropriate order.

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