BBC Says It As It Is

The Beeb plagued by crises, doesn’t shy away from reporting on its internal mess. Again!

ByAastha Manocha
BBC Says It As It Is
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Guess who’s on strike? The BBC. Guess who reported on it? The BBC. Guess who also had an opinion column on it? Again, BBC.

Yesterday, the BBC had its reporters reporting on its reporters going on strike. Yes, read that again. Does this count as professionalism – doing your job when your fellow journalists won’t report? Or betrayal – doing your job when fellow journalists won’t report? Hmmm.

BBC’s own news report states the following –

Many BBC journalists have gone on strike for 24 hours in a dispute over compulsory redundancies.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it called the strike after failing to reach an agreement with management.

The disagreement was over the redeployment of 30 staff members facing compulsory redundancy.

It follows this report up by actually telling the public what programmes have been affected and what substitutes will be made to the regular programming. And also carries statements from the representatives of the workers and NUJ.

It’s not as if this is the first time that BBC has reported on the strike. It was even reporting on the run-up to it. And neither is it the first time the Beeb has displayed stellar objectivity in turning the camera on itself. The best coverage following the Jimmy Saville controversy and then the resignation of the BBC Director General Entwistle wasn’t on any other channel, but on the BBC itself.

Which makes you wonder if any Indian news organisation would have had the guts and standards to do the same? And we aren’t speaking of just the privately-owned channels, but also the state-owned ones. More importantly, our news organisations already suffer from suspect gate-keeping practices thanks to their various political and corporate leanings. And objective reporting isn’t something that most are known for. So, slim chances that they’ll suddenly turn objective when reporting on an internal skirmish at their own organisation.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for this poor guy, who had to prepare a package on the strikes, and later give a piece to camera. One wonders if he was getting the evil eye from fellow BBC journalists from behind the camera. Aah, the things we do for the love of the job.


Press Freedom Fund

Democracy isn't possible without a free press. And the press is unlikely to be free without reportage on the media.As India slides down democratic indicators, we have set up a Press Freedom Fund to examine the media's health and its challenges.
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