Friday 12 February 2016

More controversy

The other area where the BBC has been highly controversial this week concerns Newsnight and Katie Razzall's report from Poland on the disquiet (among some) provoked by the newly-elected right-wing Polish government, which, as Katie described it, is "busy" promoting its "brand" of "patriotic, Christian conservatism".

"Patriotic, Christian conservatism" doesn't sound very 'BBC' at all, does it?

And it certainly wasn't here.

I saw Katie Razzall's report at the time and thought it was heavily slanted against the new Law and Justice government...

...and re-watching it only confirms that impression. 

(The YouTube comments on the video linked to above are overwhelmingly anti-BBC, repeatedly describing Newsnight's report as "propaganda".)

What we got was, to my eyes and ears, an onslaught of what Rod Liddle might describe as liberal, metropolitan, pro-EU elite, chatterati types (Polish-style) against the new, reactionary, Eurosceptic government, with the BBC gal strongly taking the former's side. 

(And, thanks to the much-maligned Mr Google, I was able to confirm those impressions by reading about the liberal organisations featured).

A spokesman for that government was the only 'counter voice', and he was cast as the defensive baddie. 

I didn't blog about it at the time because (a) I didn't have the time and (b) I wasn't sure that Law and Justice didn't deserve some of the opprobrium poured on them by their opponents in Poland, the EU and (as I spotted) plenty of BBC journalists on Twitter (Hugh Sykes et al). 

I still don't know that, though I've now read plenty of counter-arguments saying that all previous incoming governments (including the last centre-right, pro-EU Civic Platform government) have done exactly the same to the media and the judiciary (etc) on election, yet the EU and the Western media didn't breathe a word against them

This week the Polish government officially complained to the BBC about this report and it makes for a very interesting read (if you're inclined to click on the link). 

The bit that particularly struck me on reading it was Section 7 - the 'conflict of interest' bit about the involvement of one Maya Rostowski in (apparently) part-producing Katie Razzall's Newsnight report:
Appointing Maya Rostowski to take part in the production of a news item about politics in Poland raises our deep concerns about “Newsnight” impartiality as delineated in the BBC Editorial Guidelines, Section 15.
In some circumstances, it may also be appropriate to consider whether the position of families and close personal contacts presents a likely conflict of interest. 
Ms Rostowski is a daughter of former Polish Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Jan Vincent Rostowski, a high ranked Civil Platform politician and fierce opponent of Law and Justice. 
In 2010, she worked as an advisor to Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski in the Civic Platform government and in 2013, became an analyst in the governmental Polish Institute of International Affairs. Her appointments stirred up public controversy and were widely criticised as a blatant example of political cronyism.
Is this true (the bit about her being involved in part-producing Katie Razzall's report)?

Was this anything approaching an impartial report?


And as Friday night is music night (or so they say), something very, very Polish (and beautiful)...


  1. Interesting that Katie Razzall didn't appear to check her fact, stated near the end, on Poland's economy.

    Are we being experimented upon by our media in general but especially the BBC, to see if the population will believe certain things irrespective of authenticity or relevance to a particular broadcast?

  2. Not to mention Katie Razzall being the daughter of a Lib-dem peer herself. No surprise she stood on the Liberal party over in Polska is there?


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