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‘BBC bias on rural issues is relentless’ – Countryside Alliance meets with Ofcom

The Countryside Alliance has met Ofcom representatives to discuss concerns on BBC impartiality after a spate of recent complaints.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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‘BBC bias on rural issues is relentless’ – Countryside Alliance raises BBC anti-rural bias with Ofcom

The Alliance has submitted evidence to Ofcom’s first Thematic Review of the BBC, highlighting concerns regarding representation of the rural community.

 

It said the BBC had failed to implement recommendations of its 2015 review of rural coverage, which advised the appointment of a Rural Correspondent and pointed to a need to stop portraying rural issues as controversial ‘by relying on a narrow set of protest groups for comment, just to serve their metropolitan audiences’.

 

But three years later no rural correspondent has been appointed and the Alliance believed the BBC continued to report on rural issues as conflicts between protest groups.

 

Failed to deliver

 

The Alliance also believed the BBC had ‘failed to deliver’ on its 2016 Editorial Committee Findings related to Chris Packham’s campaigning.


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In January, the Alliance wrote to complain after controversial presenter Chris Packham told Autumnwatch viewers glyphosate and neonicotinoids were ‘proven’ to be harmful to insects. However, the BBC said he had not breached impartiality guidelines.

 

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner said: "We believe the countryside deserves a truly neutral BBC.

“Our campaigning on this issue is relentless because BBC bias on rural issues is relentless, and it is vital that we highlight every occurrence until the problem is sorted.

 

“We are very grateful to Ofcom for the opportunity to discuss our concerns, and for the opportunity to contribute to this thematic review. Hopefully it marks the beginning of improved rural coverage at the BBC."

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