On 7 January 2014, one of the BBC’s flagship television programmes, Newsnight, ran a lengthy piece on domestic violence. We captured it for our YouTube channel:
As usual with the BBC the narrative was of men only as perpetrators, and of women only as victims. We’ve highlighted previous occasions when Newsnight has done this, our YouTube channel and in this blog. This time we decided to take some action. We read the 215 page document on BBC Editorial Guidelines, and found this Newsnight piece to breach over 50 of those them. We itemised those breaches in an attachment to our letter of complaint, and posted a blog piece on the matter, including a link to our letter:
The response we received from the BBC was nothing short of insulting, so we sent a letter appealing against their handling of our complaint. That was over four weeks ago, and we have yet to hear back from them.
How quickly does the BBC seek to respond to complaints? From their website:
We email or post over 90% of replies within 2 weeks (10 working days) but cannot always guarantee this. It will also depend on what your complaint is about, how many others we have and practical issues such as whether a production team is on location or otherwise away.
Mark Brooks is well-known and highly regarded among men’s human rights activists. He’s the chairman of the Mankind Initiative, a charity supporting male victims of domestic violence. On 23 January he wrote an excellent letter of complaint about the same programme to the BBC, and it’s downloadable through a short blog piece we posted a few days letter:
If the Newsnight team had the slightest concern for male victims of domestic violence, they’d have made answering his letter a priority. They can’t even be bothered to pretend they have concern for male victims. The BBC has now had Mark’s letter for nine weeks, and still not replied to it.