Earth Report: Paper Tiger broadcast on BBC World, 5 July 2002
The Broadcasting Standards Commission has partly upheld a complaint of unjust or unfair treatment from Mr Barry Chipman, on behalf of Timber Communities Australia Limited ("TCA"), about Earth Report: Paper Tiger, broadcast by BBC World on 5 July 2002.
The programme looked at the effect of logging on the environment in Tasmania, where TCA represents forest industry families.
The Commission considered that there was no intention to mislead TCA into believing it was dealing with the BBC, rather than the programme-makers, Television Trust for the Environment. There was therefore no unfairness in this respect.
The Commission considered it legitimate for the programme to set the scene by reporting opposing viewpoints about Tasmania's forestry industry.
Nevertheless, the extent of wilderness and rainforest in reservation was relevant to the programme's examination of the claims made.
The Commission found the programme failed to portray it accurately and this was unfair to TCA.
The Commission did not consider the programme was inaccurate as a whole, but found that it contained inaccuracies in relation to the change in the law after the "velvet worm" decision, the Forestry Practices Board and the range of the Towering Eucalyptus.
It considered the comparison of the land-clearance rate with "a poverty-stricken tropical forest nation" misleading.
The Commission considered that, coupled with the failure to portray accurately the extent of wilderness and rainforest in reservation, this resulted in an exaggerated portrayal of the extent to which rainforest in Tasmania was exposed to logging and was unfair to TCA.
The Commission considered that editing archival footage of a burrowing crayfish into footage of a harvested coupe might have misled viewers into concluding that its habitat had been destroyed by loggers. This was unfair to TCA.
The Commission recognises that the programme-makers sought to represent a variety of views and does not consider that more weight was given to the environmental point of view than that of the timber industry. The programme was not unfair to TCA in this respect.
Accordingly, the complaint was upheld in part.
A full copy of the adjudication can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to: the Broadcasting Standards Commission, 7 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JS. A copy of the summary is available on the Commission's website at www.bsc.org.uk.