Media Manipulation and “Discrepancies”: BBC Admits Switching Pictures and Video Footage

“no formal policy which obliges BBC News to inform viewers that footage has been changed or to confirm when asked the source of material used”

Response from Complaints Director, BBC Editorial Complaints Unit to my email of 1 June 2015.

From: Colin Tregear
Sent: 01 June 2015 11:47:20
To: Robert Stuart

 

Dear Mr Stuart

Thank you for your email.

I hope I can clarify the points I was attempting to make.

In your initial email to BBC Complaints you said:

Please can you explain precisely why this change was made, why it was unacknowledged, what the source or sources of the substituted images were, whether Laura Kuenssberg’s narration which continued to inform audiences that the substituted film was “shown for the first time” “just as MPs voted” – i.e. on the evening of Thursday 29 August 2013 – was accurate and how the re-editing of the programme in this manner accords with BBC Editorial Standards?

I therefore understood you to have asked four separate questions:

why this change was made

why it was unacknowledged

what the source or sources of the substituted images were

whether Laura Kuenssberg’s narration which continued to inform audiences that the substituted film was “shown for the first time” “just as MPs voted” – i.e. on the evening of Thursday 29 August 2013 – was accurate and how the re-editing of the programme in this manner accords with BBC Editorial Standards?

As I explained, only one of those (the final point) is an issue which the ECU can address.  I will await your further email by 16 June before I begin an investigation into the replacement of the footage and whether it led to a led to a breach of the BBC’s editorial standards.

In response to your comment about the paragraph in my email which you found “astonishing”, I can only say the point I was making was that there is no formal policy which obliges BBC News to inform viewers that footage has been changed or to confirm when asked the source of material used.  It is a matter for BBC News to decide whether to provide that information.  I will however consider in my forthcoming investigation whether the material which was inserted into the BBC News Channel report met the requirements of the Editorial Guidelines on Accuracy, bearing in mind the script line.

Finally, I have asked the relevant BBC managers to look into your concerns about the time it took to handle your complaint at Stage 1, and I will forward their response when I send you the ECU’s provisional finding.  That will hopefully save you any further effort; I hope that is acceptable.

Yours sincerely

Colin Tregear

Complaints Director

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit

Room BC2 B4 Broadcast Centre


Articles by: Robert Stuart

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