Sunday 3 February 2013

BBC Trust Refuses to Answer Complaints

Not only has the BBC taken more than the ten days they say they will need to reply, the Beeb has refused to answer the complaints raised in my blog, What's Wrong with the BBC's Disability Coverage?, and, furthermore, the institution has also included what I perceive as a veiled threat to publicise their response. However, given that the response is necessarily in the public interest, I publish their unexpurgated reply below. One might also wonder why the BBC cannot respond to my complaint as made. It seems to me their refusal is simply a bureaucratic means to avoid accountability. What does the reader think?

It might also be noteworthy that replies have not been forthcoming to tweets sent to the BBC Trust on the same matter.

Is it just my perspective, or does it appear the BBC has something to hide?

[Received Sunday 3rd February 2012 at 12.26]

Dear Mr Hunter

Reference ***-*******-******

Thanks for contacting the BBC.

Whilst we appreciate you getting in touch with us, in terms of the BBC's complaints process, you'll understand that we are unable to make reference to any comments published on any blog.

If you wish to formally register a personal complaint about specific and recent BBC programmes or services with us, we must ask that you explain to us yourself via our webform the nature of your unhappiness and what specific programming or specific output on what specific dates, or what specific policies or published BBC Editorial Guidelines you feel are involved.

Only then would be able to review your complaint and to investigate it in line with the our published complaints framework, and provide you with an individual and personal response to any concerns.

In closing, we note that you mention that our reply will be published on your blog and elsewhere, but as you will be aware copyright within published works - such as any reply email we may send you - rests with the author of that work rather than the recipient, and permission to reproduce cannot be assumed and is not automatically granted.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Mark Roberts

BBC Complaints


  1. What he says is true - they only respond to specific complaints about specific programmes.

    Or not.

    I've used the online form several times to complain about dishonest misrepresentation and bias on the Jeremy Vine show, to no avail.

    Personally, unless an email contains the internationally recognised copyright symbol and declaration I assume it's in the public domain.

    The form of words used by Roberts doesn't specifically forbid you to republish, simply that permission can't be assumed.

    I think assuming the same protection applies to an email as, say, to a book, might be a bit of a reach, especially when the content is clearly in the public interest, though I'm no expert.

    By the way, your tweet didn't appear on MetroTwit, though it did on Twitter and on my iPad - weird.

  2. Ron, I specifically contacted the BBC Trust and not the BBC, so I would have thought that the former ought to respond not the latter. Furthermore, by setting up an inflexible complaints system that will not permit the area of non-reporting means that the BBC is failing in its requirements to be balanced and to listen to all voices.

    A journalist friend has advised me that the copyright assertion is just plain "ridiculous"; but if necessary, as stated, I should simply claim public interest. Legally, I set out my terms and they chose to respond and in so doing implicitly have accepted those terms as they have not point-blank refused permission.

    Anyhow, the Beeb will have to start listening at some point. I am quite content to take further action if required.

    No idea what is MetroTwit. Shall immediately go and research.

    Thanks for input, Ron. %)