Complaint to the BBC and BBC Trust regarding the political tone and timing of Khyra Ishaq article by Margaret Ryan:
A specific complaint I have is that this information:
" Birmingham City Council's social services department was under pressure at the time. Last year its children's services were found to be "not fit for purpose". "
...is only displayed in the thirteenth paragraph, but the second paragraph of the article contains the text:
"Her death five months after her mother withdrew her from school raised concerns about how closely home educated children are monitored."
...which acts as an undue attack on home educators, by linking it so closely textually with the first and primary paragraph of the article. Additional weight is given to this paragraph by putting it in bold text as well.
There is currently legislation attacking the rights of parents to home educate without harassment by local authorities which is partisan to New Labour, and their man Graham Badman; not all parties agree with the proposals. Many home educators have also raised their concerns about it.
The Badman report and proposals are very much matters of 'political or industrial controversy' as defined under the Ofcom broadcasting code Section 5:
Because of the seemingly inverted second and thirteenth paragraphs, this article amounts to an attack on home educators rights, timed for a crucial point, where the proposed legislation goes to the House of Lords, and is partisan to the current governments point of view.
Additionally I feel that Graham Badmans views are given Undue Prominence over the length of the article: nine paragraphs and one quotation box. The very fact that his views are displayed in a quotation box make the article biased, because there is no opposing view presented this way. Nowhere is there any mention of Graham Stuart MP who has opposing views, and only a brief summary of one home educators reaction. Certainly not in quotation boxes that are almost as big as the picture of poor Kyrah Ishaq!
Nowhere does the article mention that the Badman report is now discredited, and has many opponnents.
It was clearly the authorities who failed Khyra Ishaq, not the home educators of the country, and yet this article makes it seem as though the law should be changed ala the Badman report, despite this being a current political issue. It shifts the blame from authorities to home education in general.
It is possible that various Lords will be using your website to familiarize themselves with Home Education, and they will find this biased article with its bold text second paragraph that mentions home education so prominently. The article is giving a biased political overview, and in my mind should be taken down or changed immediately.
From the Broadcasting code:
" 5.1 News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented
5.12 In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes. Views and facts must not be misrepresented."
As I have complained above, this code has not been followed, and I would like to see news.bbc.co.uk only upload articles that conform to this code.