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Orwellian censorship at BBC Editors blog

 
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johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Orwellian censorship at BBC Editors blog Reply with quote

There's been some blatant censoring of fair and rational comments at the BBC's Editors blog. This message from the ML Editors noting the removal of David Cromwell's and others' postings has been saved here.

See also:
http://johnhilley.blogspot.com/2010/10/bbcs-dna-bloggers-genes-censorship-and.html

John

------------------------------------

BBC Editors' blog: post gone

Posted by The Editors [User Info] on October 25, 2010, 11:23 am

Sweet irony that it should be a post that references Orwell......

Other posts have been dumped too, including by elliekeen and TheDailySketch.

Nice work, BBC "moderators".

Eds

==

Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your comment below.

Comments on the BBC blogs may be removed if they are off-topic. For more information, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml#h

Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account.

Please do not reply to this email. For information on appeals visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml

Regards,
BBC Central Communities team
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/

URL of content (now removed):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/blog23/F19122148?thread=7825460&post=102157342#p102157342

Subject:
BBC News linking policy (4)

Posting:
Steve Herrmann above:

"Looking around the site at our current coverage, there are examples of major news stories with inline links to external source material, including the UK's national security strategy, business support for spending cut plans and a ship hijacking study. Other recent examples include this feature with a range of interesting added links, a review round-up and a backgrounder with a wider range of links to reference material."

Why do BBC News stories not have links to "external source material" that provide a more critical analysis of "the UK's national security strategy" or other major issues? The range of opinions provided by the BBC to the public is too narrow; too dominated by an establishment consensus. Debate may have the illusion of being wide-ranging and fierce - the (in)famous BBC rottweillers give a good impression of this - but only within rigidly set parameters: "This far and no further."

Or, as George Orwell noted in his originally unpublished preface to Animal Farm, "Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for any official ban." Editors and journalists know, consciously or otherwise, not to stray too far from the permissible range of opinions or "facts"; Nothing too controversial, like the basic illegality of the crime of aggression, the supreme war crime, committed by the Western powers against Iraq: "`it wouldn't do' to mention that particular fact."

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/10/bbc_news_linking_policy_4.html#comments


Last edited by johnwhilley on Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:02 pm
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johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: BBC Editors' blog: post gone

Posted by David Sketchley [User Info] on October 25, 2010, 1:07 pm, in reply to "BBC Editors' blog: post gone"

Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your comment below.

Comments on the BBC blogs may be removed if they are off-topic. For more information, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml#h

Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account.

Please do not reply to this email. For information on appeals visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml

Regards,
BBC Central Communities team
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/

URL of content (now removed):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/blog23/F19122148?thread=7825460&post=102154512#p102154512

Subject:
BBC News linking policy (4)

Posting:
"Could the moderator please explain why David Cromwell's posts have been censored by the BBC?

Looking at the Media Lens Message Board, it can be plainly seen that it doesn't break the House Rules as the Moderators claim: "Your comment was failed by the profanity filter"

This is an outrageous attempt to silence free speech."
Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:06 pm
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johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Concerned, no doubt, about any further uncomfortable criticisms of the BBC at this blog:

"This entry is now closed for comments"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/10/bbc_news_linking_policy_4.html#comments
Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:13 pm
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johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Some other censored comments from this Editors blog topic, saved here for future reference. (ML Message Board comments re the removed postings also noted here.)

John

-------------------------------

Posted by The Editors [User Info] on October 19, 2010, 8:22 pm, in reply to "BBC: An experiment"

Censored comment number 1 at the BBC link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/10/bbc_news_linking_policy_4.html#comments

is reproduced here for your perusal....

Eds

==


Perhaps you would consider including links to critiques of BBC News reporting.

Here's an example. The BBC's (non-)reporting of confirmations that Afghan schoolchildren had been shot dead in December 2009.

Initial reports were in The Times by Jerome Starkey:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/afghanistan/article7040166.ece

With further in-depth reporting here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/afghanistan/article7040216.ece

BBC News online previously posted these two reports:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8432653.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8434800.stm

In the first BBC report above, we read:

"Nato said it had no record of operations or deaths in the area."

and

"The BBC's Peter Greste in Kabul says Kunar province is remote, snowbound and dominated by the Taliban, so the investigation into Saturday's alleged incident will be difficult."

In the second of your reports:

"The BBC's Peter Greste in Kabul says it is impossible to verify either account. He says it is possible that both are broadly correct - and that the victims might well have been school students, but that they helped the insurgency."

In the light of the The Times reports confirming the killings:

* BBC News was challenged about how/when it would follow up previous reports.

* With the resources that the BBC has available, why was BBC News apparently unable to do what Mr Starkey has done and investigate and now indeed verify - the initial disturbing allegations of Afghan schoolchildren being shot?

* How would these confirmations affect how BBC News deals with Nato statements in future?

Media Lens media alert: NATO'S FIRE SALE - ONE DEAD AFGHAN CHILD, $2,000

The BBC failed to respond.

David Cromwell
Co-Editor, Media Lens

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/10/bbc_news_linking_policy_4.html#comments

------------------------------------------

Censored posts at BBC Editors' Blog: Part 74

Posted by The Editors [User Info] on October 21, 2010, 9:43 pm, in reply to "Censored posts at BBC Editors' Blog: Part 72"

"Your comment was failed by the profanity filter".

Yes, that's the response to attamepting to post the comment below on the BBC Editors' Blog.

Presumably "Media Lens" now counts as a profanity on the BBC web pages!

Eds

==


Comment #18: "How does this square with the new editorial guidelines?"

It's not any different from the old guidelines. Bear in mind that 'BBC' also stands for 'Bin and Bypass Complaints'.

In 2006, BBC news editor Helen Boaden described how she deflects public criticism sent to her by email. Francis Elliott explained in the Independent:

"Don't bother emailing complaints to BBC head of news Helen Boaden. She was at the launch evening for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford last Monday night. Discussion turned to protest groups and lobbying outfits which email their views to senior editors. Boaden's response: 'Oh, I just changed my email address.' So much for the Beeb being accountable." (Elliott, 'Media Diary - Helen the hidden', The Independent, November 26, 2006)

David Cromwell
Co-Editor, Media Lens

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/10/bbc_news_linking_policy_4.html#comments

----------------------------------------------------------

[ Post a Response | Media Lens Message Board ]

Censored posts at BBC Editors' Blog: Part 73

Posted by The Editors [User Info] on October 21, 2010, 10:39 am, in reply to "Censored posts at BBC Editors' Blog: Part 72"

Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your comment below.

Comments on the BBC blogs may be removed if they are off-topic. For more information, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml#h

Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account.

Please do not reply to this email. For information on appeals visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml

Regards,
BBC Central Communities team
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/

URL of content (now removed):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/blog23/F19122148?thread=7825460&post=102064137#p102064137

Subject:
BBC News linking policy (4)

Posting:
The BBC's new editorial guidelines supposedly reaffirm the corporation's commitment to "impartiality". But this "impartiality" is routinely asserted, rather than demonstrated with proof. The inhouse "BBC complaints" procedure and the establishment-embedded BBC Trust are systemically incapable of ensuring true impartiality.

When rational arguments backed by copious evidence undermine the whole edifice of BBC "impartiality", the BBC has a public duty to make such arguments known to the licence payer, however uncomfortable this may be to senior managers and editors.

Is silence or censorship a fair response? Is it wise?

Media Lens media alert: The Silence Of The BBC 100

The public deserves better.

David Cromwell
Co-Editor, Media Lens

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Censored posts at BBC Editors' Blog: Part 72

Posted by The Editors [User Info] on October 21, 2010, 10:37 am

Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your comment below.

Comments on the BBC blogs may be removed if they are off-topic. For more information, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml#h

Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account.

Please do not reply to this email. For information on appeals visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml

Regards,
BBC Central Communities team
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/

URL of content (now removed):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/blog23/F19122148?thread=7825460&post=102045415#p102045415

Subject:
BBC News linking policy (4)

Posting:
Thanks Mr Woof. You'll see that my comment did not last long: flushed down the Orwellian "memory hole"; or, as the BBC puts it, "referred for further consideration".

You might call the editors of Media Lens "professionals charged with monitoring and improving news media". In fact, although we are indeed fulltime, that's largely because of the generosity of individuals who donate to the website.

This post won't last long here; indeed it may never be approved for public consumption. Queries about previous posts that were disappeared met with no response from the BBC.

Conclusions of this mini experiment?

1. Linking to cool-headed rational criticism of BBC News output is unacceptable.

2. Querying the policy is unacceptable too.

David Cromwell
Co-Editor, Media Lens

--------------------------------------------------------

Comment on BBC Editors' blog about to vanish in a flash...

Posted by The Editors [User Info] on October 22, 2010, 5:30 pm

Oh dear, oh dear. This long post - the bit below is only the end of it! - is surely due to be flushed away by some BBC apparatchik. Catch it quick, while you can...

Eds

P.S. And no, we didn't post it.

==

"That's part of the warp and weft of living in a democracy."

Eh? I think you guys have been hanging around Jonathan Ross too long.

"Our job is to ensure we remain absolutely impartial and present the facts to our audiences - without following any agendas."

Well then you have failed miserably in this task. The BBC actually does the exact opposite in most cases.

"Our presenters take professional pride in holding the powerful to account through fair but tough questioning."


Fair and tough questioning? This would need to apply to everyone the BBC interviews not just a select few. This of course means it is not impartial. Watch any of the episodes of Hard Talk to see some of this fair and tough questioning. Where the smug presenters will attack the guests with allegations not facts. the recent episodes with Oliver Stone and Hugo Chavez would be good examples of this.



"All our journalists - on and off air - are acutely aware of their responsibility to be impartial."

It's a shame then that they fail to adhere to that impartiality on and off air.

"That's why, for example, we report the problems of the BBC as we would any other institution. And that's why our trust ratings remain so high. And in a healthy democracy our audiences would not want it any other way."

I also think people in an unhealthy democracy (which would be ours) would want the same thing as well.

It would be nice to have a follow-up post from yourself Ms Boaden. Making such statements and then disappearing is not really productive at all. Stay and contribute.

I wonder how long before the BBC shuts down this thread for comments as well then eh?

Link: Comment number 29

------------------------------------------

BBC response to Ellie Keen's and her deleted post:


Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to remove your comment below.

Comments on the BBC blogs may be removed if they are off-topic. For more information, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml#h

Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account.

Please do not reply to this email. For information on appeals visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml

Regards,
BBC Central Communities team
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/

URL of content (now removed):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/blog23/F19122148?thread=7825460&post=102147008#p102147008

Subject:
BBC News linking policy (4)

Posting:
Can I suggest, if you're concerned to double the number of clickthroughs from this page, that you could quickly do so by linking to the Media Lens message board, where the numerous comments on this thread which 'broke house rules' can be seen. Special prize for any reader who can spot why Cromwell's messages were seen to be 'off-topic' and had to be removed.

http://www.antarchia.org
Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:38 pm
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David C
site administrator


Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 234
Location: Southampton

Post Post subject: Cross-reference Reply with quote

Thanks John,

Just to keep things ship-shape, there's stuff here too:

http://www.medialens.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3125

Above post possibly duplicates in part what you've been posting here. But note the "logical conundrum" post that escaped the censors. That one was just fun; sometimes that's all you can do!
Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:33 pm
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johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, David, for alerting me to that other forum posting - I should have checked. Your link will take readers to it.

I suppose I should also include my own comment, which the moderators did permit - though I can't see why mine does 'satisfy' the 'House Rules' while the others listed here, apparently, don't.

Another logical conundrum?

Cheers
John

15. At 12:39pm on 21 Oct 2010, johnwhilley wrote:

The above-noted removal of David Cromwell's comments demonstrates the BBC's increasingly punitive and intolerant response to rational and evidence-based criticism.

On the issue of linking policy and the new guidelines, could Mr Herrmann answer the following question. If, in the supposed spirit of open discussion, accountability and 'self-inspection', the BBC did run a story about media impartiality, would it be prepared to link to Media Lens and other such sites critical of the BBC?

In the same public interest vein, shouldn't the very discussion of linking policy at this blog be encouraging particular mention of external sites with that kind of media monitoring remit?

Isn't that an elementary part of the viewer's right to unhindered information and self-interpretation of the issues?

I expect this message to be held up or removed.

John Hilley

I
Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:54 am
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