Saturday, 20 April 2013

Gaping holes in the BBC's reporting?


You would, I hope, expect that a House of Lords report claiming that the scale of European Union fraud is massively more than than the European Commission has presently admitted would be widely reported - especially by any media organisation which claims to be a leading source of news. 

Most newspapers did indeed carry the story:

The TimesReal cost of fraud in EU could be £4.3bn, warns Lords report April 18 2013 Billions of pounds are disappearing from the coffers of the EU because of gaping holes in attempts to tackle fraud, peers have warned. In an alarming assessment of the quantities of cash disappearing from the EU’s budget, a House of Lords report found that an official estimate that £348 million was lost as a result of fraud in 2011 was “only a glimpse” of the real scale of the problem.

The Daily MailEU budget fraud may be more than £4BILLION which is 12 times higher than previous figure 17 April 2013 Officials 'failed to give realistic assessment of how much money lost'; EU's cohesion fund and agriculture were areas 'most susceptible' to fraud; House of Lords committee condemned Treasury for lack of help with inquiry

The Daily TelegraphEU 'losing £4 billion of taxpayer cash to fraud' 17 Apr 2013 More than £4 billion of taxpayer cash is "disappearing" from the European Union budget every year because officials are failing to get a grip on fraud, a damning parliamentary report said today.

The Daily ExpressLords accuse Brussels of covering up £4bn fiddles April 18, 2013 THE true scale of European Union fraud is at least 12 times greater than officially acknowledged by Brussels, a report from the House of Lords said yesterday.

Yorkshire PostEU budget fraud ‘may be costing taxpayers over £4bn’ 17/04/2013 The scale of fraud against the EU budget is likely to be in the billions rather than millions and at least 12 times greater than the amount acknowledged by the European Commission, a House of Lords report has claimed.

Liverpool EchoPeers challenge EU fraud audit data Apr 17 2013 The scale of fraud against the European Union (EU) budget is likely to be in the billions rather than millions and at least 12 times greater than the amount acknowledged by the European Commission, a House of Lords report has claimed.

The Irish TimesEU budget fraud ‘may be in the billions’ Apr 17, 2013 Report suggests real size of problem may be around €5 billion

The Daily StarPEERS CHALLENGE EU FRAUD AUDIT DATA 17th April 2013 The scale of fraud against the European Union (EU) budget is likely to be in the billions rather than millions and at least 12 times greater than the amount acknowledged by the European Commission, a House of Lords report has claimed.

London Evening StandardPeers challenge EU fraud audit data 17 April 2013 The scale of fraud against the European Union (EU) budget is likely to be in the billions rather than millions and at least 12 times greater than the amount acknowledged by the European Commission, a House of Lords report has claimed.

I've been keeping a careful eye on this story for the last four days and can confirm, however, that neither The Guardian nor The Independent have reported it. 

Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that (unlike the Eurosceptic Telegraph and Mail) both The Guardian and The Independent are strongly pro-European newspapers. As they are privately-owned media outlets, their right not to publish a story that casts the EU in a bad light is their own business. If they don't want to report it there's no obligation for them to do so.

What though of the impartial, charter-bound BBC? 

It regularly reports on the findings of parliamentary select committees. Did it report this report? No. 

You will not find  the story on the BBC website. It hasn't been reported on Today or The World Tonight either. Just like the Europhile Guardian and Independent, the BBC has chosen to ignore it.

Why?

One of the most regular accusations against the BBC (re bias) is that it is pro-EU. Is this more evidence of that bias?


UPDATE 23/4: ....and yet a report from the very same House of Lords committee a few days later - which criticises the government's plans to opt out from the EU's crime measures -  is not only reported but made one of the BBC News website's main stories.

Fancy that!


BBC News23 April 2013 Last updated at 06:10

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