BBC "terrorist house" story inaccurate, damaging: Lancashire police

By @iamkarlatecson on
People stand outside Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, in London Britain July 2, 2015. The BBC said it will cut more than 1,000 jobs because it expects to receive 150 million pounds ($234 million) less than forecast from the licence fee next financial year as viewers turn off televisions and watch programmes on the Internet. Reuters/Paul Hackett

UK broadcasting company BBC has received flak from the Lancashire police after reporting on a 10-year-old Muslim boy whose spelling mistake allegedly launched a terrorism investigation. 

Denying that the boy’s family was questioned as suspected terrorists, the police said the BBC’s story was not only inaccurate, but has damaged community relations. In his letter to the media outfit’s local office, Lancashire Constabulary’s police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw criticised the BBC’s reporting and the article’s social aftermath. 

“The media needs to take more responsibility when sensationalising issues to make stories much bigger than they are and to realise the impact they can have on local communities,” Grunshaw wrote, according to a report by The Guardian.

On Wednesday, the BBC published a story claiming that a Lancashire primary school student was interrogated by the police after writing in class that he lived in a “terrorist house.” The Muslim boy misspelled the line and meant to write that he lived in a “terraced house,” according to his family. He was reported to the police in accordance with the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act, which encourages individuals to inform the authorities of any suspected extremist behaviour.

Grunshaw said that the police visited the boy’s house due to other worrying issues in his schoolwork. “This was not responded to as a terror incident and the reporter was fully aware of this before she wrote her story,” he said. 

For its part, the BBC said that it firmly believes this story was in the public interest and that they acted in a responsible way. “We reported the facts in good faith and after taking appropriate steps to check them with the authorities involved. A statement from the police was included. We updated the story immediately when the authorities released more information once the story was in the public domain. We absolutely did not say the family was ‘interrogated as potential terrorists,’” the BBC spokesperson stated, according to The Guardian.

The BBC’s article on Wednesday, which has since been taken down, was picked up by national and international press. It also became viral in social media, launching the hashtag #IGrewUpInATerroristHouse. Twitter users were quick to make this a conversation piece. Some resorted to jest while others expressed the gravity of the issue.









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