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Andy Burnham criticises BBC's 'cursory coverage' of anti-cuts protest
7:10am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
LEIGH MP Andy Burnham has criticised the BBC’s ‘cursory coverage’ of an anti-cuts protest in a letter to the corporation.
The shadow health secretary raised his concerns about the coverage of the demonstration, which saw 50,000 people take to the streets of Manchester on Sunday, in a letter to BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten.
The letter reads: “I attended the event and was proud to walk alongside doctors, nurses and other front-line NHS staff from all parts of the country who had given up their Sunday in the hope of making their voice heard.
“It was therefore a real surprise to me to return home to find what I consider only cursory coverage of the event on BBC news bulletins. As far I could see, there was no specific coverage and it was only mentioned in the wider context of the Conservative Party Conference.
There was no explanation as to why people were there in such large numbers.”
Mr Burnham argues that other national media organisations covered the event in more depth and is requesting to know how many reporters and cameramen the BBC sent.
The letter continues: “This was a major national protest and it seems to me that the BBC’s coverage did not reflect this. Other major news channels seemed to reach a different editorial judgement.
“My purpose in writing to you is not, at this stage, to make a formal complaint but rather to request that the trust conduct a review of the extent and quality of the coverage.”
A BBC Trust spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received Mr Burnham’s letter; we will respond in due course.
"The BBC has covered the protests against government spending cuts and NHS changes that took place in Manchester, with coverage across all platforms on Sunday including the BBC News Channel, radio news, within the lead story on both the News at Six and News at Ten, and a full report on BBC News online."
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