News at Six Complaint Stage 2: BBC Response 12

Subject: Editorial Complaints Unit Email (12 Dec)#2
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:27:46 +0000
From: Colin Tregear <>

Dear Mr McNulty

Thank you for your email.  I fear I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I could have done on the issue of editorial discretion.

There are clearly occasions when an editorial decision could lead to a breach of the BBC’s editorial standards.  The point I was trying to make was that the Editorial Complaints Unit does not have the authority to consider the choice of which news stories or events are reported on any particular day.  Our role is limited to considering whether specific items broadcast or published by the BBC’s meet its editorial standards.  So to put it in very simple terms, we can assess whether the manner in which a news story was reported met the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines but the decision to report or not to report a particular news story would fall outside the scope of the unit.

The question of whether the BBC achieves due impartiality over time in the way it reports a particular topic is one which should be addressed by BBC News management rather than the ECU. The ECU cannot consider whether it was legitimate to report one item on a particular day (the IMF forecast) but not to report another item (the ONS statistics) on a separate day.

I hope that helps to clarify matters.

If I have understood your complaint correctly, it may be that the most effective and efficient step to take next would be to ask BBC News management to consider your complaint about the editorial discretion exercised by its staff in relation to the IMF and ONS publications.  If you agree, I can pass your complaint to the relevant person.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed.

Yours sincerely

Colin Tregear

Complaints Director
BBC Editorial Complaints Unit
Room MC3 D3 Media Centre


Chain of Correspondence:

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