BBC News show ‘violating’ Ofcom broadcast standards

A BBC News program was found to have breached “broadcast standards” due to it having an inaccurate statement and was not acknowledged or corrected on air, Ofcom has said.

His media watchdog has revealed the results of an investigation into a BBC News At Six segment broadcast on February 26 hosted by Sophie Raworth.

In a live report from Holyrood, the BBC’s former Scotland editor Sarah Smith incorrectly said Alex Salmond had called for Nicola Sturgeon to step down as Scotland’s First Minister at a parliamentary committee.


BBC reporter Sarah Smith incorrectly says Alex Salmond has called for Nicola Sturgeon to step down (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Alex Salmond said he believes Nicola Sturgeon misled Congress and violated the Code of Ministers, which he thinks means she should resign,” Smith said.

But Mr Salmond has not called for Ms Sturgeon to resign and has told the inquest he has no doubt Ms Sturgeon breached the Ministerial Code, but added that “I don’t have to suggest the consequences would be like how”.

The BBC accepted the news report as “inaccurate” and said it had taken what it deemed “appropriate action to minimize errors”.

This includes an explanation on the reporters’ Twitter page, a correction posted on the BBC’s corrections and clarifications website along with a summary of the action taken, and articulation on the programme. BBC News At 10 that Mr Salmond has stopped calling for Ms Sturgeon to resign.

However, on Monday, Ofcom ruled that the company had breached “broadcast standards” because it failed to acknowledge and correct mistakes on television.

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In a statement, Ofcom said: “News must be reported with appropriate accuracy.

“This program broke our rules by including a significantly inaccurate statement that was not acknowledged or corrected on air.

“Our investigation also uncovered discrepancies between the BBC’s published final decision on the program and its response to a particular complainant.

“The BBC must be transparent in how complaints are handled and handled, and we will consider this case as part of the BBC’s regulatory review process.”

We’re absolutely committed to being transparent about complaints, and we’re always looking to fix any issues as quickly as possible.BBC

Ofcom also said its investigation had found the BBC’s editorial guidelines around online editing “did not clearly reflect” its claims.

The watchdog added that the BBC should “revise its editorial guidance” and that it “intended to discuss” the matter with the company as a “priority”.

In a statement, the BBC said: “We accept the decision.

“We are absolutely committed to being transparent about complaints and we always seek to fix any issues as quickly as possible.

“We will reflect on the findings and of course, if we can do more to explain how we assess claims then we will look into that.” BBC News show ‘violating’ Ofcom broadcast standards

Fry Electronics Team

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