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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Blair 'attacked BBC over Katrina'
Rupert Murdoch
Mr Murdoch was at a seminar hosted by Bill Clinton
Prime Minister Tony Blair believes BBC coverage of Hurricane Katrina is "full of hate" for America, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has claimed in a speech.

Downing Street has not commented on the speech, made in New York on Saturday.

Mr Murdoch said Mr Blair told him in a private conversation BBC World Service coverage was "full of hate of America and gloating about our troubles".

The BBC said it was committed to full, accurate and impartial coverage and had not received a complaint from Mr Blair.

Mr Murdoch, who owns the Sun, the Times and News of the World newspapers and Sky Television, labelled the BBC a "government-owned thing".

'Straightforward reportage'

He said people around the world were jealous of the US, and anti-Americanism was common throughout Europe.

If things are not going well, the president is there to be criticised
Jonathan Baker
BBC world editor

The News Corporation boss was speaking at a seminar hosted by former US President Bill Clinton, as part of his Clinton Global Initiative forum.

Mr Clinton said he had seen the report Mr Blair was referring to, and there was "nothing factually inaccurate" in it.

But he said it was designed "almost exclusively" to criticise the Bush administration's response to the crisis.

Earlier, the BBC's world editor Jonathan Baker defended its coverage to Newswatch after similar criticisms from some BBC News viewers and users.

He said most of its output had been "absolutely down-the-line straightforward reportage", but added the president had made himself the "figurehead" of the disaster response.

"If things are not going well, he is there to be criticised, and if they were going much better he would expect to take the credit," he said.

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