Monday 23 October 2017

BBC apologises over report on Irish Travellers at Dale Farm

Robert Dex

THE BBC has apologised to Basildon council after it complained about a One Show report on the controversy over the travellers' site at Dale Farm.

The local authority said the popular early evening show was "inaccurate, misleading and biased in favour of the travellers" after it broadcast a piece about the proposed clearance of the site on February 14.

An investigation by the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee found the five-minute report was "duly accurate" and "had not knowingly and materially misled its audiences".

But it said the programme had "failed to clarify that the site had been developed on green belt land".

It also said it had been "unfair" to the council in allowing a traveller to allege the local authority was "throwing us out on the road" with "nowhere to go" without giving it a right of reply.

The committee also found a studio discussion between presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones and actor Neil Morrissey, who was a guest on the show, created an "overall impression" that was "unfair" to the council.

The report went on to say that Morrissey, who speculated whether the land had been "earmarked for development", had "been placed in a very difficult position" when he was asked to comment.

The six-acre site in Crays Hill was cleared earlier this year following a decade-long row over unauthorised plots.

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