Labour accuses the BBC of toning down cuts coverage

BBC NewsThe BBC has been accused of toning down its coverage of the Con-Dem budget cuts.

BBC NewsLabour has accused the BBC of toning down its coverage of the Government’s budget cuts. The party has lodged a compliant with the corporation after BBC London News ran a report about NHS cuts which were described as “savings”. The word “savings” was used several times during the report, labour claim, with on-screen graphics also using the word. Sources within the Labour party have also accused the BBC of bowing to pressure from the Government to tone down reports on the cuts.

However, the BBC has denied it has toned down coverage of the cuts or has been pressured too. The corporation dismissed the complain by Labour as “nonsense” with a spokesperson telling Media GuardianThe top line in the BBC London bulletin on Monday read: “London hospitals could be forced to close as a result of budget cuts. In the subsequent piece which listed targets for individual trusts, the word savings was used. Both were entirely appropriate in context.”

It is not the first time the BBC has come under fire for how it covers the budget cuts which some claims the corporation is pandering to the coalition government too much. Mark Thompson was widely criticised for visiting Downing Street and discussing the BBC’s coverage of cuts at a time when George Osborne was preparing the public spending review in October. However, there are those within the Government who feel the opposite and think the BBC are over reporting the cuts and are not impartial enough about their effects.

The issue of budget cuts is a thorny one because of the way they will affect millions. With front line services under threat and the prospect of job losses for nurses, police officers and teachers it will be a difficult path for the BBC to tread in the coming months as the cuts really bite. The disputes over student tuition fees and library closures could just be the first of more bitter disputes to come.