Monday, 8 March 2010

Response to my complaint to the BBC

My complaint to the BBC can be found here:

The following is their (standard) reply.

Thank you for your e-mail about the article regarding the case of Khyra Ishaq and please accept our apologies for the delay in replying.

We are sorry that you feel unhappy about the coverage of this complex case. The article you have highlighted looked at whether there could have been interventions that might have prevented the young girl's death. It reflected widespread public interest in the case.

Part of this story was that Khyra had not been in school - and in reporting this we reflected the views of Birmingham City Council about difficulties gaining access to see the child. They put this in the context of the wider debate about children being educated outside of school. This included Graham Badman's report commissioned by the government.

The article reflects these arguments; it does not take sides. It also includes the strongly expressed views of home educators who clearly rejected the council's linking of this case with the wider question of children being withdrawn from school. It also reflects the argument that Graham Badman's proposals on home education would not have affected the

These are sensitive subjects - about a very sad individual case and about an issue on which there are strongly held and very sincere differences of opinion.

We do our best to reflect these ranges of opinion. We have written many stories about parents' opposition to some of the proposals regarding home education. Last summer we ran a series of features showing why families had opted to educate their children at home.

Reflecting the views of home educators, the findings of the Badman report and the opinion of Birmingham City Council was an honest and thoughtful attempt to explore a set of particular circumstances, within the limits of a news story about the death of a young girl.

There would never be any intention to offend any part of the audience, including home educators.

Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch with us.

Best wishes,
BBC News website

A few notes about this response:

The quotes from home educators which were included in the piece are frankly tokenistic. Two sentences from a single home educator were quoted, compared to nearly 300 words, the introduction to the piece in bold, and a boxed out pull quote on the government line.

The views of Birmingham City Council even at that point were widely seen to be flawed and self-serving. They have since been recognised far and wide as the attempts of a desperate public servant to point the finger of blame at laws and systems which currently protect families from the abuses of state, as well as (when understood and followed) protecting children as far as possible from harm.

Graham Badman's proposals on Home Education were very probably dreamed up in advance by the DCSF in partnership with a group including Graham Badman and Tony Howell. The "Independent" Review of Elective Home Education was created as a smokescreen at least partly in response to the Khyra Ishaq case, as has been shown here. This blog, incidentally, does all the work which I would expect a respected institution like the BBC to do in researching and piecing together information from here and there to form a picture of what has really been going on behind the government spin. It is an excellent example of investigative writing which the BBC could learn from. The journalist who put the BBC's own piece together was in possession of many of these facts, as they were passed to him by the home educators he interviewed. He chose instead to regurgitate the national and local government line, placing heavy emphasis on an irrelevant side-issue (education) at the expense of the real story: the failure of social services to follow procedure, the subsequent desperate passing of the buck, and the scurrilous use once again of the death of a child to prop up anti-family, anti-freedom, anti-child legislation.


  1. the badman report contains statistics that have not been independently verified (and never would be as statisticians will confirm that the variance are too great so there can be no analysis in this form (%)) therefore the badman report has no official standing , does not qualify under the stated criteria demanded of statistics used to form policy/statute, and is a load of balls
    So NO bbc, you should not have given credence to it.

  2. My complaint took a different tact:!/note.php?note_id=341024809719 (should be accessible to all), but I fear I will also get the standard response. Next step is Ofcom, although they are only concerned with the broadcasts, not the website publications.

    Ben Jacobson

  3. Article is very different in the topic points and the way of writing.Keep updating more articles.

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