Basildon Council comms head 'very happy' over Dale Farm BBC apology

Basildon Council's comms head has expressed jubilation at the BBC's apology over a One Show news clip, which is found to be biased towards the Dale Farm travellers.

Dale Farm: travellers evicted by Basildon Council

Basildon Council’s comms team lodged a series of complaints with the BBC over a five-minute piece broadcast on 14 February’s One Show which featured an interview with a traveller.

The traveller told the interviewer that members of the community were being ‘thrown out on the road with nowhere to go’.

The BBC Trust has now found that the One Show had been unfair towards the council, by implying it had failed its ‘statutory obligations’ to house or relocate the travellers, and will now offer an apology to Basildon Council.

Basildon interim head of comms Cormac Smith told PRWeek: ‘We are very happy with the findings of the BBC Trust, albeit very late in the day.

‘It is important that an organisation like the BBC, which is funded by public money and quite rightly has a worldwide reputation for excellence in public sector broadcasting and news reporting, gets it right first time.’

Smith is an employee of Westminster Council, which is currently overseeing the Essex district council’s PR operation.

In September, Smith told PRWeek that there was a ‘huge amount of misinformation’ in the media about Dale Farm, such as suggestions that the council will cut off the camp’s gas and electricity. He added that the media’s use of the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ has been ‘extremely unhelpful’.


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