In a report commissioned by the BBC Trust and conducted by television executive Stuart Prebble, Helen Boaden, former director of BBC News said that when she took control in 2004 there was a “deep liberal bias” in the way the BBC reported public views on immigration.
The report also states ‘The BBC was slow to reflect the weight of concern in the wider community about issues arising from immigration.”
Former ‘Today’ reporter Robin Aiken gave evidence to the review and said that the corporation was damaged by a reluctance to give offence that stopped it covering the subject of immigration properly.
The report also criticises the influence that politics and government have on news reporting at the BBC. It states ‘It remains the case that the agenda of debate is probably too driven by the views of politicians.’
Prebble also criticises the BBC’s policy of gathering too many journalists in its new Broadcasting House in the West End, London. He says in the report ‘A large group of people working together are in danger of becoming more homogenous in their thinking, not less, and so less able to see when the output reflects a narrow outlook.’
In response to the report, the BBC said it considered the report positive, and provided insights into the way coverage of controversial subjects has been handled by the corporation. It also said that it will take measures to guard against the risks of developing a ‘group think’ culture.