BBC’s Arab Spring coverage review

The BBC Trust has launched a review of the corporation’s coverage of the Arab Spring, the Corporation announced.

Edward Mortimer, a journalist and former Director of Communications for United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will lead the review which will examine the impartiality of reporting across television, radio and online.

Alison Hastings, chairman of the Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee, said “the events that came to be known as the Arab Spring were extremely fast-moving and complex.” “That makes it a difficult story to cover,” adding “the challenge for the BBC, as with all controversial areas, is to ensure that it maintains the high standards of impartiality and accuracy that audiences expect, both in the UK and around the world, where many rely on the BBC’s international news services”.
Previous reviews examining the impartiality of BBC output have looked at its coverage of business and science.

Mortimer, an expert in Middle East affairs, said “Events in the Middle East during 2011 up-ended many widely accepted notions about the region. “Such stories are always the most exciting for journalists to cover, but also present many challenges,” he added.

The review, which will be published in autumn 2012, will look at coverage in countries including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.