Thursday 9 December 2021

The BBC upholds a complaint against Justin Rowlatt

The BBC has upheld a complaint against its Climate Editor Justin Rowlatt. 

It's one of those rulings where the BBC's write-up attempts to put the best possible gloss of the matter, but it's still a ruling against him on grounds of [in]accuracy:
Wind turbines: How UK wants to become ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’, 09 December 2021  
In a video attached to this report the BBC’s Climate Editor, Justin Rowlatt, described the UK offshore wind industry as “now virtually subsidy free”. A viewer of the video complained that this was inaccurate. The ECU considered the complaint in the light of the BBC’s editorial standards of due accuracy. Outcome As explained to the complainant in previous correspondence, Mr Rowlatt’s intended meaning was that the most recently approved offshore wind projects were expected to operate without subsidy (or with “negative subsidy”) because the price at which the successful companies would sell the energy they produce to the Government was expected to be lower over the lifetime of the project than the wholesale electricity price on the UK market. However, it was not clear from the context that Mr Rowlatt was referring only to recently approved projects, and the ECU considered viewers likely to form the impression that the industry as a whole was “now virtually subsidy free”. As existing installations are expected to receive significant subsidies over their lifetime, that impression would have been inaccurate. Upheld
Further action 
The finding was reported to the Board of BBC News and discussed with Mr Rowlatt. The article has been amended to remove the inaccurate impression.

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