00:59 GMT04 August 2021
Listen Live
    UK
    Get short URL
    by
    10351
    Subscribe

    The total for the year 2019/20 was 368,377, which BBC management reportedly said back then was exceptionally high due to complaints about the 2019 general election in the UK and the first time it had exceeded 300,000 since records began.

    In just the last 12 months, the BBC has received nearly 500,000 viewer complaints about "perceived bias."

    According to the broadcaster's own annual report released this week, it received 462,255 complaints from 2020 to 2021, an increase of 93,878 from the previous year. Public anger over perceived bias has been driving up the numbers, which are up from 218,253 in 2018/19.

    "The volume of complaints to the BBC remains a concern. This financial year has seen another sharp increase in the number of complaints received," said Ian Hargreaves, chair of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines and Standards Committee, quoted in the report. "The committee has explored the reasons behind this increase in volume year-on-year and asked the executive to review the operational handling of complaints."

    The figures and the consequences were echoed by the UK watchdog Ofcom, which announced on Friday that it had received a record number of complaints in the previous year: 142,660, up from 35,545 the year before.

    “Our research shows too many people perceive the BBC to be shaped by a particular perspective. This is not simply about the politics of Left and Right. We recognise that many feel the BBC does not get the world from their point of view," the BBC annual report stated.

    According to the Telegraph's analysis of the data provided in the report, BBC host Emily Maitlis' monologue on Newsnight on then-chief advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson Dominic Cummings in May 2020 topped the tally of complaints.

    During a talk concerning Cummings' trip from London to Durham during the UK's first national lockdown, Maitlis said that Boris Johnson's former adviser "broke the rules," adding that the whole country "can see that, and it's shocked the Government can't."

    After receiving 23,674 complaints, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom reportedly advised the BBC that hosts should not "inadvertently give the impression of setting out personal opinions."

    BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, along with co-host Charlie Stayt, received 6,498 complaints earlier this year when the two appeared to criticize Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick over the size of the Union flag in his office. Moreover, after liking social media posts in favor of her on-air statements, Munchetty was forced to apologize.

    ​Apart from that, Andrew Marr's interview with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which got 1,712 complaints, was also besieged by claims of prejudice.

    According to the BBC, organized web campaigns can result in significant amounts of complaints. People were also encouraged to report their negative views because the broadcaster's complaints mechanism was easily accessible online, The Telegraph suggested.

    According to Ofcom's statement on the annual report, the "vast majority" of the record-breaking number was about "content that audiences found offensive." Ofcom stated that receiving such a significant volume of complaints about specific broadcasts is "unusual," and the watchdog noted that there was an "increase in the number of complaints specifically about potentially racially offensive broadcast content."

    Ofcom's complaints list was dominated by the UK channel ITV, with TV host Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain topping the list, receiving such a dubious honor by voicing his reservations about assertions made by the Duchess of Sussex in her interview with Oprah Winfrey in early March and afterwards.

    Related:

    BBC to Review Editorial Policies in the Wake of Princess Diana Interview Revelations
    BBC Reporter Comes Under Fire for 2014 Tweet That ‘Hitler Was Right’
    UK Police Charged Man Over Abusive Behaviour Towards BBC Journalist at Covid Protest
    'It is Blatant Racism': BBC Blasted For Barring White People From Applying for Trainee Position
    'Shots Fired': BBC Journo Reveals What Happened When British Destroyer Violated Russian Border
    ‘Who’s Lying: The MoD, the BBC or the Embassy?’: Moscow Raps UK Over HMS Defender Incident Confusion
    Tags:
    UK, BBC, BBC Bias, BBC News, complaint, complaints, bias, biased, antibias, media bias, media bias, propaganda, Ofcom
    Community standardsDiscussion