Reader unhappy with BBC’s response to her complaint re non-coverage of the National March for Rejoin

Montage by Anthea Bareham

Dear Editor,

I have sent this response to the BBC, after their wholly inadequate response to my complaint about the lack of coverage of the big rejoin march in London on September 23:

I am incensed and insulted by the generic, risible, unsubstantiated and facile response to my original complaint.

“BBC News is unable to cover every march or protest that takes place. The decision on which stories to cover are taken on editorial merit, with a number of factors considered including the day’s news agenda and whether the subject of the march is a particularly newsworthy or topical issue.”

As any self-respecting journalist will tell you, much of the terminology used here is subjective and open to debate. In particular, I refer to the following: “editorial merit, the day’s news agenda, newsworthy, topical.” Who decides what fits these criteria is key and what may or may not motivate them to ignore a major event? Whoever controls the people who make these decisions is also a key factor when trying to determine whether there is bias or not. It is not good enough to simply state the above without justification.

As your response was so nebulous, I would like you to give me an itemised account of those stories you considered were more newsworthy, with a full justification for your editorial decisions. The march was covered in overseas media. French media, for instance, deemed it important enough to warrant coverage. Why did other stories take precedence here in the UK?

Currently, the majority of the population believe Brexit has not worked and that lies were told. The fact that political parties are tangling themselves up in knots about the issue and want it off the ‘people’ agenda does not mean that the ‘people’ want the issue buried.

Housing, the cost of living crisis etc have all been exacerbated by Brexit. The BBC and its journalists need to hold those responsible to account and keep asking tough questions about our future relationship with Europe. We – the people – can’t do it all, especially if the media are not reported upon when we try.

I look forward to a satisfying response, so that I can make up my own mind as to whether the BBC reporting is biased or not.

Nicola Upton


Nicola adds:

I have had an initial response which says the BBC will try to reply within 20 working days, by which time it will be yesterday’s news, of course, as it already is, but I did not want them to feel they could just give me any old sop.