BBC Complaints response

May 15, 2017

by Martin Odoni

The BBC have responded to the complaint I lodged a couple of days ago about a Conservative councillor, Eric Holford, being allowed a seat in the audience on Question Time, and being allowed to ask the first question. Here is what they have said; –

Dear Mr Odoni

Many thanks for getting in touch about the edition of BBC One’s
Question Time from Edinburgh as broadcast on Thursday 11 May 2017.

We were naturally concerned to learn of your unhappiness in relation to Councillors being part of the audience, but we can assure you that the Question Time audience is always chosen to ensure broad political balance, and each application goes through the same rigorous background checks. Nobody is barred, and it is common for those interested or active in politics from all sides to participate.

As you’ll appreciate, this is an audience participation programme and on any given night there will be a range of views expressed by that audience, and any suggestion that the programme planted people in the audience is wrong.

Question Time audiences are selected in accordance with the BBC’s guidelines on fairness and impartiality; and as you will have seen yourself, Emily Thornberry responded to the first audience member’s question for Labour.

Many thanks once again for taking the time to get in touch. We do hope our reply here helps to clarify matters and thus allays any concerns you may have had.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

I cannot help feeling that my point is not really being addressed here. My chief objection was that it was inappropriate that an elected politicians should be allowed to ask the questions on such a programme, when they should, if anything, be facing questions. Question Time is meant to be a forum that allows ordinary members of the public, not elected politicians, to ask the questions.

I expressed no objection to having a wide range of views aired, and I offered no comment on how the panel responded. It was simply inappropriate who asked that first question. Yes, of course people who are actively involved in politics are most likely to be in the audience, but I have no objection to that. My objection is specifically to elected politicians being in the audience.

Therefore, my concerns would perhaps be better allayed if a decent explanation were forthcoming as to why the makers of the programme have no apparent policy on this. The reply does not really touch on that.

So, while I appreciate the speed of the BBC’s response, I am not entirely impressed by its content.

_____

UPDATE:

Others who have sent complaints to the BBC about what happened have also received responses. One such response reads as follows; –

Many thanks for getting in touch about the edition of BBC One’s Question Time from Edinburgh as broadcast on Thursday 11 May 2017.

We were naturally concerned to learn of your unhappiness in relation to Councillors being part of the audience, but we can assure you that the Question Time audience is always chosen to ensure broad political balance, and each application goes through the same rigorous background checks. Nobody is barred, and it is common for those interested or active in politics from all sides to participate.

As you’ll appreciate, this is an audience participation programme and on any given night there will be a range of views expressed by that audience, and any suggestion that the programme planted people in the audience is wrong.

Question Time audiences are selected in accordance with the BBC’s guidelines on fairness and impartiality; and as you will have seen yourself, Emily Thornberry responded to the first audience member’s question for Labour.

Many thanks once again for taking the time to get in touch. We do hope our reply here helps to clarify matters and thus allays any concerns you may have had.

Sound familiar?

(In fairness, I did offer to let people copy-and-paste the text of my complaint if they wanted to, so I suppose the BBC may feel they have the right to send out identi-kit replies. But let us remember, I am doing this as an unpaid blogger. When the BBC responds, it is supposedly doing what it is paid for.)

MORE ON THIS SUBJECT HERE.

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8 Responses to “BBC Complaints response”

  1. Sophia.George 💋 Says:

    It’s quite a political response. They’ve dodged the question you wanted answering and fobbed you off with ridiculously obvious policies of the BBC.

    However, aside from the main issue you raised, the BBC clearly do not share the same interpretation of fairness and impartiality as the rest of us- us being the general public.

    And these rigorous background checks that each individual is subject to would surely flag up that Eric Halford is an elected member of parliament. Thus, making it neither fair nor impartial.

    Also if these background checks are as

  2. Sophia.George 💋 Says:

    I wonder how many complain each week about their biases ? The response is identical. I would imagine they update small sections of it, for example, Thursday 4th at (?).

    All the drivel in between and then replace Emily Thornberry with another labour MP.

    I’m trying to work out a way of resolving the matter by instigating a domino effect with the TV licensing. It’s the only bill I have to pay and receive absolutely no benefit from. I haven’t watched the BBC in years it has always been corrupt.


  3. […] So, the BBC have been sending out generic identical responses to those who complained about a Tory Councilor masquerading as a member of the public on the Edinburgh edition of Question Time. […]


  4. Reblogged this on butterjackie411 and commented:
    BBC VERY BIASED AGAINST JEREMY CORBYN AND THE LABOUR PARTY FULL STOP.

  5. britexpat191 Says:

    Reblogged this on brittdp and commented:
    No matter what the excuse, it is not appropriate for an elected member of a political party to sit in an audience supposed to be comprised of members of the general public for the purpose of questioning members of political parties…


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