BBC Needs To Be Impartial On China


Following several months of  lobbying, and the issue of a formal complaint,  against a radio report by Quentin Sommerville of the BBC, which  promoted Communist China’s propaganda the broadcasting corporation has issued the following statement:  

“I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you. I’ve recently taken over the Editorship of Up All Night and I’ve been making enquiries as to the information that was broadcast in that particular slot. I thank you for the feedback and information that you have supplied. It has been sent to the Correspondent, Quentin Somerville and to my colleague who supervises the content of each Up All Night programme. They have closely studied your passionately presented arguments. Your comments were a reminder of the strong views held on the subject. I’m sure we both agree that BBC journalism should be as accurate, impartial and as informed as possible. We have taken on board your feedback. I hope that this is a subject that the wider BBC and Up All Night will return to in the future. The essence of your feedback will be distributed to the Up All Night team. Our journalists should work to bring clarity and a wider context to any facts and opinions that are presented by any one authority. Sadly the duration of that particular slot is limited and we did not have the space to go into much more detail – something that we will endeavor to do in the future. Once again I thank you for your time and effort in presenting your opinions on this subject. Best wishes Jonathan Aspinwall”  (Editor – 5 Live Late Nights)

Tibettruth welcomes such assurances and hopes that future reportage on Tibet, China and associated human rights violations, such as China’s coercive population control program, will be factual, balanced and accurate and not simply repeat official Chinese government disinformation. In the offending broadcast Quention Sommerville mislead the audience, and peddled the following Chinese lie: “If you are an ethnic minority you are allowed to have as many children as you want” (Quentin Sommerville BBC Beijing Correspondent on Up All Night Show, BBC Radio Five Tuesday January 12 2010).

In light of the BBC statement it is to be hoped that this reporter will inject some much needed independence, balance and factuality into his reportage on China (and occupied territories such as East Turkestan and Tibet) although on the basis of his record perhaps that may prove somewhat optimistic? Take for example his coverage of the demonstrations that took place in Urumchi, East Turkestan during July 2009, in essence pro-Chinese and echoing officially sanctioned reports, with not a single reference to the gunning-down of unarmed Uyghurs, during what was a peaceful protest!

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