The BBC’s news editor has defended their lack of coverage of the Telford of grooming gang revelations, insisting the corporation is doing the “right thing” in relation to grooming gangs generally.
On the BBC’s NewsWatch programme, presenter Samira Ahmed also revealed they had received “hundreds” of complaints about a perceived initial reluctance to cover the allegations.
Responding to the BBC’s own Ms. Ahmed, James Stephenson, News Editor of BBC News and Current Affairs, admitted that on Monday, after the story broke over the weekend, they did not feature the story on their front-page, and covered it only briefly in their paper review the day before.
BBC News coverage of the Telford abuse allegations under discussion at 19.45 News Channel, tomorrow at 07.45 on BBC1 or watch on iplayer
— NewsWatch (@newswatchbbc) March 16, 2018
He also argued that because of a “busy news period”, including the Russian spy poisoning and the death of Stephen Hawkins, the story was forced down their agenda.
“So, there was a story on the website on Monday,” Mr. Stephenson said when questioned.
“That was on the England index. There were various developments in the story as the week has gone on. I’m sure you’ve seen and the viewers have seen how the story has developed.
“So, the initial suggestion was that possibly 1,000 victims, and that was based not on hard information, but on an extrapolation based on work with an academic.
“So, we pursued it. And we weighted the story.