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04/08/2010

BBC Homosexual Web Complaint Rejected

A complaint about a headline on the BBC News website which asked 'Should homosexuals face execution?' has been rejected by the BBC Trust.
The headline had been posted on a moderated talkboard discussion ahead of a World Service programme Africa Have Your Say about the controversial anti-homosexuality bill which was proposed in Uganda last December.
The headline was also posted on Twitter, with one poster misquoting the headline as 'Should homosexuals be executed?'.
The Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) has ruled that the language was "too stark" and that there was no "clear signposting" to indicate the "clear editorial purpose" of the material.
However, the ESC stated: "The committee also noted that Mr Horrocks had apologised for any offence caused. The committee therefore concluded, with regard to the phrasing of the headline that, while it was agreed that the initial headline was an error - not only for its starkness but also because it did not make clear that the headline referred specifically to Uganda - it recognised that BBC management had apologised promptly and this had resolved the issue. The committee agreed no further action was required.
"The committee noted that, given the global availability of the BBC website, online content producers would now have to be more aware that all material they produce is universally available via the internet. Hence, headlines that might cause offence to certain audiences needed greater contextualisation than previously."
(KMcA)
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