‘Bias against Brexit supporters!’ BBC viewer ‘totally dismayed’ over end of impartiality

‘Bias against Brexit supporters!’ BBC viewer ‘totally dismayed’ over end of impartiality

July 2, 2022

BBC viewer 'totally dismayed' at broadcaster's end of impartiality

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The BBC saw a 20 percent point drop in trust among viewers since 2018 as Ofcom this week directed the corporation to address a series of complaints about its management of complaints and lack of impartiality. While the broadcaster emerged as one of the most trusted news providers in the UK in a recent Press Gazette analysis, the company has been facing persistent criticism for its coverage of key issues, including the Brexit debate. BBC viewer John Huw Jones took particular issue with the perceived bias the BBC has towards Brexit supporters.

Writing to BBC Newswatch, Mr Jones said: “Since the 2016 referendum, I have been totally dismayed by the BBC bias against supporters of Brexit.

“The BBC was once renowned for its impartiality, but alas no more.”

The corporation has been facing criticism about its coverage of the Brexit issue since the referendum campaign began in 2016.

Both the Remain and Leave camps have at times accused the broadcaster of being either too pro-Brexit or anti-Brexit.

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But lack of impartiality over Brexit was not the only issue raised over the past week, with one BBC viewer lamenting the lack of balance in the coverage of the US Supreme Court’s reversal of the Roe v Wade decision recognising American women’s right to abortion.

BBC viewer Janet Fillingham said: “I didn’t keep a stopwatch record of balance but wish I had done.

“Perhaps you felt the shock value of the Supreme Court ruling was self-evident, and that balance wasn’t needed?”

Former BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer however rejected claims of impartiality, insisting that overall the BBC did a “good job” in ensuring impartial news coverage despite the large daily output.

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Mr Damazer said: “I don’t think the BBC, given the volume of its output on any given day, can claim to be 100 percent successful on being impartial even on a given day, never mind across a year.

“But if you take a more practical view of it, which measures the BBC impartiality record or the accuracy and trustworthiness of its journalism against the sheer volume of its output, and then look at the size and number of the mistakes it makes, I would contend that overall the BBC does an extremely good and effective job at being a trustworthy and impartial broadcaster.

“And, in doing that, serves British democracy extraordinarily well.”

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Responding to Ofcom’s finding, a spokesperson for the BBC cited independent research to hit back at claims Britons lack trust in the corporation.

They said: “Although we are never complacent, our own independent research shows that we saw a boost to perceptions of BBC News’ trustworthiness and impartiality during the pandemic.

“And BBC News is the source adults in the UK are most likely to turn to for impartial news on the biggest news stories of the day.”

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