Thursday, January 5, 2017


The Sunday Herald says it's seen a draft finding by the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, on a complaint that BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg over-stated Jeremy Corbyn's reluctance to endorse "shoot-to-kill", after an interview with him back in November 2015.

According to the paper, the Editorial Standards Committee "decided there was a significant difference between what Mr Corbyn said and what the report inferred. This had led to a failure of due accuracy." The interview came on the back of Government moves to step up security after the Paris shootings; the take, still available on the BBC News website, reads "Jeremy Corbyn says he is "not happy" with UK police or security services operating a "shoot-to-kill" policy in the event of a terror attack."

The next day Mr Corbyn said he had been talking about shoot-to-kill in general terms of police action in Britain and Northern Ireland: "Of course I support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force is required to save life in response to attacks of the kind we saw in Paris."

The Trustees of the committee had concluded, in draft, that there was "no evidence of any intent to deceive or distort" but "Trustees considered that the effect of the failures to observe due accuracy had, on this occasion, resulted in a failure of impartiality".

It looks as though both BBC News and the complainant have made further comments in response to this draft finding. and the wise heads of the ESC -  Richard Ayre (chair), Sonita Alleyne, Mark Damazer, Bill Matthews and Nick Prettejohn  - will reconvene. The Herald understands that they haven't interviewed Laura; I can't see why they would need to - the finding about the broadcast shouldn't be coloured by background, unless, of course, there's an untransmitted bit of the interview that backs the News line.

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