Saturday 20 August 2022

Mark Easton gets it wrong again

And talking about the BBC getting its facts wrong...

As Arthur T notes on the open thread, blog favourite and arch-BBC narrative setter Mark Easton has been rebuked again by the corporation's Editorial Complaints Unit.

BBC News (6.00pm), BBC One, 12 April 2022
18 August 2022


In a report on the Prime Minister receiving a fine for breaching lockdown restrictions the BBC’s Home Editor said:

Now each one of those Fixed Penalty Notices requires the police to believe that a criminal offence has been committed. Now it doesn’t go on anybody’s criminal record but it will go on the Police National Computer.

A viewer complained that this was incorrect, as breaches of lockdown restrictions incurring a fixed penalty notice were non-recordable crimes. The ECU considered the complaint in the light of the BBC’s editorial standards of accuracy.


The Home Editor acknowledged that he was mistaken in saying the offence would be recorded on the Police National Computer. As the error could have misled viewers as to the seriousness of the offence, the ECU accepted that it was a breach of the relevant editorial standards.

Further action

The finding was reported to the Board of BBC News and discussed with the programme-makers concerned.

As ever, beyond being published on a part of the BBC website very few people read [and being picked up by the odd newspaper], what is the BBC doing to make this known to BBC viewers who might have been misled? A prominent apology/correction on BBC One's News at Six?

I've scanned TVEyes to see if any apology/correction has been broadcast on BBC One since this ruling was published two days ago. You won't be surprise that it brings up no results.

Note also that it took four months and an escalation to the ECU to even get this. The BBC's complaints process isn't fit for purpose.

You really do have to watch them like a hawk.

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