Wednesday, April 08, 2009

BBC's disgraceful performance over Ian Tomlinson killing

It is staggering how eager the BBC has been to relegate the killing of a citizen by the police to a non-story, worth only one line in its initial coverage. Whether they were leaned on, or whether they just followed their natural inclinations, they just didn't give a good fuck about this suspicious death. Even when it became clear that the police were lying about protesters obstructing assistance, and that the single anonymous source who said he died of 'natural causes' was probably wrong, there was zilch. Worse, according to Guardian journalist Stephen Moss, when the BBC were offered the latest footage by The Guardian, they were told: "No thanks, we're not covering this, we see it as just a London story." Even now that they are forced to give the issue proper coverage, they don't mention that independent eyewitnesses confirm that Ian Tomlinson was repeatedly attacked by the police moments before the video was shot. That is a significant part of the story to just leave out. Neither do they mention that this kind of assault was part of a sequence of attacks on entirely innocent people, which the police take for granted as their right. At every stage, the BBC's performance has been a disgrace. Ian Tomlinson's family are rightly demanding justice. They might also want to ask why a supposedly public service broadcaster exhibited such callous indifference to Mr Tomlinson's death.