Saturday 21 November 2015

"One of the viewers"

This week's Newswatch focused, inevitably, on the BBC's coverage of the Paris massacres. 

They featured Gavin Allen, the BBC's controller of daily news programes, in the studio and "one of the viewers who's been in touch with us over the past few days, Richard McCallum, who's in Oxford" on a video link.

As soon as I saw viewer Richard McCallum against the backdrop of Oxford my distrust of the BBC kicked in.

Unfortunately, from past experience I've grown to disbelieve the BBC whenever they present someone as merely 'an ordinary viewer'. I wondered if he might be something a little more 'relevant' and 'important' than that. 

From my researches, Dr McCallum comes across as a very decent, interesting chap (and I'm glad to have 'met' him, so to speak). 

His response to the last massacres in Paris (Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket) makes for fascinating, nuanced reading. (He dismisses the idea that the attacks have nothing to do with Islam for starters). 

But he is, unquestionably, the kind of religious person who would fit in perfectly at Radio 4's Thought for the Day, or on Sunday

Here then was his first contribution to this week's Newswatch, making the point he wanted to make:
I'm concerned that the quantity of coverage suggests that Western lives lost are more important than lives lost in other parts of the world. I think of places like Pakistan, Nigeria, places which have great resonance for some of the communities most at risk or radicalisation here in this country. And that amount of coverage can then reinforce ideas within those communities that Muslim lives are actually not valued as much, which actually then increases the risk of radicalisation. So I think we have to be very careful to be proportionate in our reporting of loss of life around the world.
It's a point - just from what I've seen, heard and read - that Jeremy Corbyn, John Simpson and Hugh Sykes (among others) have also made, though Dr McCallum even went further than they did in 'please-thinking' about the feelings of British Muslims here.

An interesting choice for Newswatch's 'representative viewer', don't you agree?

1 comment:

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.