The BBC’s Head of Television News Roger Mosey has defended the corporation’s “impartial” coverage of the run up to war in Iraq and the continuing hostilities. He said that ultimately it is the role of the public to judge politicians rather than broadcasters.
Speaking at a debate at the Guardian Newsroom in London this week, Mosey responded to what he said was a common thesis that accuses the BBC of “systemic failures”. He said that he stood by the BBC’s coverage overall as meeting the corporation’s values of impartiality, independence and honesty.
He did not accept the interpretation – of the media as liberal propagandists – “that bombards people in jobs like mine everyday.”
“The demand that we start from the premise that George W Bush and Blair are war criminals, the whole Iraq war was a mistake and the impact on the domestic front of Blair’s hubris on Britain’s standing in the world has left a trail of damaged civic institutions.”
The “bombardment” Mosey cited in part refers to large volumes of e-mails from lobbying and campaigning groups which are now a frequent factor for editors and journalists.
Mosey said the BBC now had to “reflect and give airtime to the case for the war and the continuing case for the coalition’s actions in Iraq – as well as the case against the war and the alleged abuse of human rights.
“We aspire to be impartial. We’re not propagandists for one side or the other, and we do not adopt the position of opposing for opposition’s sake a democratically elected government.
We will test policies, but ultimately it’s the people of the UK, not the broadcasters, who should make judgement on our politicians.”
By Caitlin Pike