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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
BBC pledges complaints 'openness'
BBC
The BBC said licence payers would be presumed 'right'
The BBC has announced plans for a new complaints procedure to make it easier for people to air grievances about programmes and get mistakes corrected.

The BBC promised greater openness and said licence payers would be presumed to be right, not wrong, in complaints.

Director general Mark Thompson said there would be a greater willingness by the broadcaster to admit mistakes.

The move has been prompted by the launch of broadcasting regulator Ofcom and by criticisms in the Hutton Report.

From autumn, people will be able to complain to the programme in question, or to a central BBC department.

BBC director general Mark Thompson
Mr Thompson said the move marked a change of attitude

If the complaint is not resolved quickly, either side will be able to ask for an independent investigation.

The system will be overseen by a new head of complaints, reporting to the BBC's governors. It will include a website which will tell listeners and viewers how to complain and will also publish corrections.

'Inquiry'

The move follows Lord Hutton's critical report of BBC editorial practices in his inquiry into events surrounding the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

The BBC was criticised for the way it responded to complaints from Downing Street over reporter Andrew Gilligan's controversial radio broadcast on the government's Iraq dossier.

It led to the resignations of former director general Greg Dyke and ex-chairman Gavyn Davies, and the BBC later announced its own internal inquiry into the lessons to be learned.

"The reforms we are announcing today mark a different attitude from the BBC towards complaints," said director general Mr Thompson.

"There will be a greater willingness at the BBC to admit mistakes and, where appropriate, put things right."

Chairman Michael Grade said the changes meant "greater objectivity, fairness and transparency" in dealing with complaints.




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