An internal investigation by the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) has ruled that the channel broke impartiality rules over its negative coverage of Brexit on Scottish businesses last year. In a broadcast for BBC One’s Reporting Scotland on December 20, the Corporation aired the following uncontested claim:
“Brexit’s advocates say there will be long-term economic benefits, but it’s been a tough year for some of the Scottish businesses most affected.”
A viewer then complained, quite rightly, that the coverage was “unbalanced‘. The ECU happened to agree…
“The ECU noted the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on impartiality say ‘We may produce content about any subject, at any point on the spectrum of debate, as long as there are good editorial reasons for doing so’, and considered it legitimate for the report to confine itself on this occasion to ‘the Scottish businesses most affected’ by Brexit.
“However, a programme adopting such an approach should maintain impartiality by exploring other aspects of the topic within a reasonable timeframe, which had not happened in the case of Reporting Scotland.”
How could this have happened again? Surely not the result of ideological bias… surely?