A review commissioned by the BBC Trust has highlighted the BBC’s shortcomings when it comes to covering rural issues.
One of the main criticisms levelled at the BBC was their over-reliance on a small number of charities and NGOs for stories, with the RSPB, NFU and National Trust among those highlighted. The RSPB in particular was singled out by report author Heather Hancock who wrote: “It is inappropriate for this one organisation [the RSPB] to have been the unprompted first response for all but three of the BBC programme makers or journalists to whom I spoke”.
The review also criticises the broadcaster for focussing on asking celebrities for their opinions and not granting enough airtime to explain facts surrounding certain issues, preferring to focus on stories of conflict.
Several recommendations have been made in the review including expanding the number and range of contacts on rural issues and re-establishing the role of rural affairs correspondent.
The BBC have been asked to report back in six months and then submit a written report in September 2015.