db | 09.09.2001 18:35 | Fiesta for Life
I asked him why we at the Beeb aren't previewing the DSEI protests and the explanation I heard is that there have been some very high level discussions about the effect of previewing UK demonstrations and our culpability if, for example, someone gets hurt or there is violence.
The feeling is that to cover an action, march or demonstration before it has occured may actually promote the given event and leave our news organisation responsible for at least part of the consequences of that action.
As I understand it this newer line has come about since the race riots in northern England earlier this summer. At that time a number of reports mentioned BNP or NF marches that were "planned for the weekend" or whatever.
Now, a lot of these fascist marches didn't ever take place, but a violent local reaction to the non-existant marches did. Some here feel that in publicising demos before they happened (or didn't happen!) we in some way poured fuel on the fire...
Now... not for one single minute does any right minded person I work with equate anti-arms trade protesters with right wing racists, but I think that there is a feeling among the top brass here that we do not want to be seen to transmit anything that might encourage large scale civil-disorder or even violence in the UK (however justified some people may feel it is)... and it would also raise a thorny political issue as to whose job it would be to cherry pick which demos were "worthy" of a preview and which were not.
But the protests ARE on the news diary here and if people involved want to get coverage, I would suggest that they contact the planning producers for WATO (The World at One) and the PM programme. As these two radio shows TX after 12:00 the demo should have started, and this will get you round the aformentioned problem.
As for TV cameras, I think there will be at least one full crew at a fixed vantage point and I wouldn't be surprised if there were DV operators too, trying to get things from the crowd's point of view.
Now, I am not sure what I think of this explanation.... I am undecided. But it's the clearest and most rational explanation anyone from my organisation has given me from as to why there is no preview coverage. As for other media outlets -- especially the right wing middle brow tabloids, I have no idea why they aren't busy demonising you as usual, maybe Lucie Morris is on holiday.