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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
An overdose of Moss
Kate Moss
The Kate Moss story was the third most popular on the BBC website
There were two significant themes to complaints about BBC News over the last week.

Criticisms of excessive coverage of the drug allegations about Kate Moss was the top theme, followed by concerns about an image of a burning soldier jumping from an armoured vehicle in southern Iraq.

Typical of audience reaction to the Moss story was an email from Jacky Jennison: "Stick with reporting real news - poverty, hunger, war, hurricanes etc. Please don't turn into another TV station that reports bland celeb news."

Some people had concerns about intrusion on the model's private life. "It is time that people let her live how own life and stopped hounding her," wrote Sue Payne.

She is a role model for many young people and the story aroused huge interest
Fran Unsworth
Head of BBC newsgathering
Responding on behalf of BBC News, head of newsgathering Fran Unsworth said: "We were cautious about reporting the newspaper allegations of drug-taking but the story developed momentum when agencies took decisions over whether or not to continue their connections with Kate Moss.

"There was also the announcement of a police inquiry, sanctioned by the head of the Metropolitan Police himself.

"She is a role model for many young people and the story aroused huge interest - not least amongst the parents of teenagers.

I think we pitched the coverage about right - it was well worth reporting but it wasn't that high up on running orders. Also, don't forget that the story coincided with London Fashion Week which brought it even more to the fore."

Burning issue

"This brave soldier is someone's son, father or husband and I am struggling to believe that the BBC would do something as insensitive and degrading as this."

"I am appalled that the BBC has decided to put a picture of a burning British soldier in Iraq on the front of their news website."

Burning British tank
Part of Sgt Long's face was on fire when he fled the Warrior vehicle
Comments such as these were sparked by pictures of a soldier engulfed in flames as he jumped out of an armoured vehicle during unrest in Basra, in southern Iraq, last week.

The man pictured, Sergeant Long, was taking part in a rescue operation to free two British soldiers who had been arrested in the city.

BBC News website editor Gary Duffy gave this response:

"We do understand the concerns and the decision to publish a photograph of this nature was not taken lightly.

"It would be fair to say our judgement was influenced by the reassuring news that the soldier concerned was not seriously injured.

"This is not in any sense meant to suggest that it was not an horrific event and a terrible experience for the soldier shown in the photograph.

"However, in our view there is a valid argument for allowing our readers to view this image of the full horror of conflict and to reach their own conclusions."


SEE ALSO
Moss says sorry over drug claims
22 Sep 05 |  UK News
Met chief backs Moss drugs probe
21 Sep 05 |  UK News
UK soldiers 'freed from militia'
20 Sep 05 |  Middle East


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