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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
BBC Iraq war coverage criticised
A woman and her child flee Basra as UK troops move in, April 2003
Reports on the fall Basra were criticised by governors
BBC coverage of the Iraq war did not treat military sources with enough scepticism, the corporation's annual report has said.

Reporting of the war had limitations and rivals offered more vivid TV coverage, the governors concluded.

And current affairs specials on Iraq did not make enough impact, they said.

Responding to the criticisms, former director general Greg Dyke said: "The fog of war applied to all channels and we were not exempt from that."

'Outstanding analysis'

The BBC was criticised as it had reported the fall of the southern Iraq city of Basra, based on information from military sources, more than once.

But, the report said, there was "much to be proud of" in the BBC's coverage of the war.

It included a good range of Arab and Muslim opinion, the governors said, while "outstanding analysis" came from Newsnight and The World at One.

BBC news reporting in general was praised. The governors said the BBC covered the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Iraq arms expert Dr David Kelly "independently, impartially and honestly" despite the obvious problems it posed.

BBC News 24 was showing "encouraging" signs of improvement since its relaunch in December 2003, the report said.

The BBC's Torin Douglas
"The message now is that the BBC is listening far more and will be more responsive"



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