Accuracy: Avoiding Misleading Audiences

3.4.11 – We must not knowingly and materially mislead our audiences with our content.  We may need to clarify the nature of some content by labeling (for example, verbally, in text or with visual or audio cues) to avoid being misleading.

When conducting my interviews, I have made sure that I ask them if there is anything that they would like to add into the interview, that they feel is valuable. I also make sure that I have clarified their stance, position and or views on the topic of death row – in order to not give the audience the wrong idea or impression of the interviewee / company. 

3.4.12 – We should normally identify on-air and online sources of information and significant contributors, and provide their credentials, so that our audiences can judge their status.

Each interviewee and the information I use to create my script surrounding them, will be given full credit where due. 

3.4.14 – We should script carefully the reporting of allegations made by an anonymous source to explain:

  • the nature of the allegation
  • that the allegation is being made by an anonymous source and not the BBC.

When the allegations have not been independently corroborated, we should consider if it is appropriate to inform the audience.

In one interview in particular, some first hand experiences are explained to which could be identified as allegations, I must clearly and coherently express that these are the views of the interviewee and then balance it would with the other side of the argument. 

3.4.21 – We should report statistics and risks in context and avoid worrying the audience unduly, especially about health or crime.  This may involve giving trends, taking care to avoid giving figures more weight than can stand scrutiny.  If reporting a change, consideration should be given to making the baseline figure clear.  For example, a doubling of a problem affecting one in two million people will still only affect one in a million.  It will usually be appropriate to report the source of figures, and sometimes the margin of error, to enable people to judge their significance.

We should consider the emotional impact pictures and personal testimony can have on perceptions of risk when not supported by the balance of argument.  If a contributor’s view is contrary to majority opinion, the demands of due accuracy and due impartiality may require us to make this clear.

Throughout my documentary there will be many statistics and figures explained, I must have them within their original context, explain the source and balance out the argument to make sure it is not biased. 


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