BBC rated ‘good in parts’ on Arab Spring
THE BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring ignored events in some countries that were forgotten in the rush to concentrate on “big” stories, according to a new report.
Edward Mortimer, a journalist and former director of communications for United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, reviewed the corporation’s coverage across television, radio and online.
He said the BBC “covered a challenging, complex and geographically disparate set of stories in an engaging way” and added that he was “impressed” by its standards.
But he said countries including Algeria, Morocco and Jordan, where regimes survived a challenge to their authority, were “largely forgotten”.
He said: “That’s a pity because it’s always interesting why dogs don’t bark and why certain rulers were able to avoid the kind of turmoil and bloodshed of neighbouring countries.”
Mr Mortimer also said the BBC made some mistakes in its reporting of other countries including Bahrain, where he said coverage was “rather sporadic, and perhaps insufficient”.
He said the BBC’s coverage of the response to the Arab Spring in countries including Russia and China was “very thin” and “a serious omission”.
Mr Mortimer added: “My main concern is I have a feeling that with all these resources there is a tendency to throw them all at the really big story that is running at any particular moment.”
He also said “more could be done” to push people towards in-depth coverage on line.
Mr Mortimer said the BBC did “a good job in vetting” footage sent in by the public, but it did not always include a caveat explaining its origin. Research carried out for the review found user-generated content, often mobile phone footage, was only used in “a small minority of reports” but that 74 per cent of it was broadcast without caveats.
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