‘BBC refused Guardian G20 protest vid’ – too much of a London story?

Interesting footnote to Duncan Campbell’s piece on Comment Is Free (‘De Menezes taught the Met nothing’) on the death of a G20 protestor last week from Guardian contributor Stephen Moss.

Apparently the Guardian’s footage of Ian Tomlinson being knocked down by police officers (as was seen repeatedly on broadcast news bulletins last night) was rejected by BBC News at 6, who said it was seen as ‘just a London story’.

Was this the reason? Some viewers would argue this is valid and part of the BBC’s remit to better represent the whole of the UK. Or was it, as Campbell suggests in the piece, an unwillingness to implicate the police:

“Although the Guardian reported the death on its front page, almost all the coverage elsewhere ignored it completely or concentrated on a version of events that suggested that the police’s only connection with Tomlinson had been to try to rescue him from a baying mob of anarchists.”

Update: A BBC spokesman has told Journalism.co.uk:

“It’s simply not true to say the BBC News at Six turned down the footage. We didn’t run it on the Six O’Clock bulletin as we didn’t receive the footage until 7pm.  We verified it and ran an extensive piece at Ten O Clock. It’s also been shown extensively across our outlets today.”

The video is now available to embed (HT @janinegibson):

3 thoughts on “‘BBC refused Guardian G20 protest vid’ – too much of a London story?

  1. MarkGay

    Thanks for highlighting the BBC’s error of judgement in this story. For a marginal broadcaster it would not matter. For the Beeb it is, sadly, symptomatic.

    I hope you don’t mind me shamelessly quoting from my blog:

    “I used to work for the BBC. We were often told not to run London stories, meaning – precisely – that we were not to bore the nation with stories about how badly the London underground compares with the Moscow, Kiev or Paris metros.

    This is an important issue so let’s be clear. The idea of not reporting London stories means this: The vast majority of BBC staff live in London but we were not supposed to let our daily concerns bore the rest of the country.

    Now when the BBC decides that Gordon Brown hosting the G20 summit is such a big story that it goes live, internationally, for two days, covering every tiny segment of the story, how come the death of a man caught up in the protests is not a story?”

    Add the misleading original statements from the police and the new laws allowing almost anyone with a camera to be arrested and even the BBC might think this was a story.


  2. JimBob

    If you used to work for the BBC I would have expected you to be a little better informed. This has been the top story across the BBC for a couple of days. As the BBC’s response above says, it was shown. The idea that it’s a London story only is preposterous. ‘Sympyomatic’ is right, symptomatic of ill-informed internet ranters. Stupid.

  3. Pingback: Nick Jones: Newspapers’ approach to video gives them exclusive edge | Journalism.co.uk Editors' Blog

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