We ask that the BBC review the current political editor; Laura Kuenssberg's position

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We ask that the BBC review the current political editor; Laura Kuenssberg's position

This petition had 18,322 supporters
Gavin Aldrich started this petition to James Harding, Director of News and Current Affairs

Since the arrival or Laura Kuenssberg and Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Opposition, we have seen a more partisan position from the BBC's political editor.

For many years we have enjoyed a relatively impartial BBC, but a report in 2013 titled; BBC Breadth of Opinion Review Content Analysis alerted the BBC to a potential shift, with regards to impartiality, in favour of the Conservative Government (attachment below).

The appointment of Laura Kuenssberg has not redressed the balance and improved impartiality, there are many examples of this. Under Laura Kuenssberg’s editorial lead we have seen far more attention and criticism levelled at the opposition than we have towards scrutiny of the government.

We would ask that the BBC organises for an independent enquiry to see if this assessment is fair. The review would be limited to four weeks and take into account all of Laura Kuenssberg’s efforts as political editor and would assess whether the editor has been balanced or not.

The full findings of the independent enquiry (with references cited) should be published.

Should the independent review find Laura Kuenssberg to have been less than impartial and/or find her to take a partisan position we would ask that she is moved to a role that is more suitable.

NB: As an example of the lack of impartiality at the BBC we would cite this report from 2013 and ask as a stretch goal for the BBC to demonstrate how this has been redressed and evidence to support the balance achieved.

BBC Breadth of Opinion Review Content Analysis - In 2013, researchers at Cardiff University undertook a major content analysis of BBC coverage – funded in part by the BBC Trust. They studied the impartiality of BBC reporting across several areas, including business and economics, and politics.

The findings revealed that:

Tories get more airtime than Labour
One of the most striking findings was the dominance of party political sources. In coverage of immigration, the EU and religion, these accounted for 49.4% of all source appearances in 2007 and 54.8% in 2012. In reporting of the EU the dominance was even more pronounced with party political sources accounting for 65% of source appearances in 2007 and 79.2% in 2012. On BBC News at Six, business representatives outnumbered trade union spokespersons by more than five to one (11 vs 2) in 2007 and by 19 to one in 2012.

A win for Euroscepticism
So what about the accusation that the BBC is pro-EU? Again the evidence points in the opposite direction.

In each sample period, a single story was dominant in broadcast coverage. In 2007 it was the Lisbon Treaty, which accounted for 70% of coverage and in 2012 it was negotiations over ratifying the EU budget which accounted for 72% of coverage. In both cases the debate was dominated by the representatives of the two main parties and the EU was framed narrowly as a threat to British interests.


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