A damning fact about the BBC’s Assange coverage just emerged

Julian Assange and the BBC News logo
Steve Topple

If you regularly rely on BBC News, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the extradition hearing of publisher Julian Assange wasn’t happening. Because the public service broadcaster has been doing a distinctly unpublic service by barely covering it.

But a revelation by another journalist has exposed a damning fact about the BBC‘s lack of stories on Assange. And moreover, it’s home affairs correspondent has also admitted why he thinks his employer is ignoring the case.

Assange: the trial of the century?

You can read The Canary‘s coverage of the Assange case here. John McEvoy reported that:

Assange is currently being held in the UK’s Belmarsh Prison, as extradition proceedings to the US continue this week.

The extradition case centres around the publishing of classified US cables a decade ago, including evidence of war crimes. If extradited, he faces up to 175 years in prison.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown stopped the hearing earlier in the year. But it resumed on 7 September. And this restart appears to be one of only a handful of times in September that BBC News reported on, or referenced, Assange’s case –  according to a search of its online coverage.

People have been talking about the BBC‘s lack of coverage. And news monitoring group Media Lens has been all over the issue.

Sorry, what…?

It directly asked a BBC journalist where the coverage was:

BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford hinted at why there was a lack of coverage. Apparently, the case is “repetitive”:

If by “repetitive” Sandford means:

  • World leaders demanding Assange’s freedom.
  • Witness evidence that undermines the entire case.
  • Press freedom like his being at risk.

Then yes, the Assange trial is “repetitive”. Boring, hey?

But a comment on social media by another journalist makes for even more damning reading.

“Filing copy”, apparently

Byline Times‘ James Doleman tweeted that:

As Media Lens quickly wondered:

The Canary asked the BBC for comment as to where it’s coverage of the Assange hearing was. We specifically wanted to know why it was sending a reporter there every day, yet not putting content out. We also asked why Sandford considers the trial “repetitive”. We asked this in the context that the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment called Assange’s trial the following on Twitter:

The BBC had not responded at the time of publication. Maybe it was busy preparing its latest article on Assange – to be marked ‘S’ for shredded. Or possibly it was preoccupied with more important things than, as Melzer said, ‘press freedom’, the ‘rule of law’ and the ‘future of democracy’.

But either way, the fact the BBC is sending a reporter into the hearing every day but not publishing their work is damning. Moreover, it entrenches the notion tha,t once again, our public service broadcaster is far from working in the public interest.

Featured image via Channel 4 News – YouTube and Wikimedia

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  • Show Comments
    1. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/04/07/star-a07.html
      First vote out the Parasite New-Labour TORY Party so that we can have a UK Labour Party even with just ONE UK Labour Party MP left standing THE PEOPLE will be better represented than the 170+ ELITE OWNED New-Labour TORY Party TORIES, led by the ELITE’S Golden Boy who Loopholed the Assange Arrest and much, much more! They are coming for Socialists at a rate that would make Hitler Blush! This is far bigger than freedom of speech, “First they came…….”

    2. There is no coverage of this through mainstream TV or newspaper sources. I see that ‘The Canary’ is doing pieces and that Craig Murray is covering this in some detail on a daily basis. But unless you LOOK for coverage of this you will not find it.

      Having complained to the BBC on different issues which they have failed to cover I know that their response is that it is a matter of ‘editorial choice’ They certainly have the information if they have a reporter filing copy daily and the issues as reported eg the US asking for Assange to be kidnapped or poisoned (you must note that this evidence was not objected to by the US side, they are accepting this evidence as true and uncontested) certainly ARE of public interest as is the behaviour of Judge Baraitser in the case.

      The BBC is the state broadcaster so perhaps it’s not surprising that it does the government’s bidding but for EVERY single newspaper in the country to ignore it (along with the rest of the world’s press to be fair) is shameful. They are gutless and have already given away their freedoms as journalists..

    3. the BBC and our other MSM should hang their heads in shame, all the crap we have had as the time approached for Julian Assange to be forcefully ejected from the embassy and arrested, rape charges ? None and never were likely, he is hiding from justice and the Swedish arrest warrant ! NEVER existed !! And so on. The MSM gleefully put out the lies and deceit whilst begging for public money to protect press freedom !!!! FFS ! The BBC and the rest of the MSM are thing other than stenographers who copy and paste directly from their masters orders. As for the Guardian? They should be ashamed of the lies they have printed on MI5’s orders of course, how this once great news paper has fallen so low that it now competes with the daily mail and the sun for the title of comic of the year as facts and truth have no meaning to the hacks that work for them or the establishment tosses that own them. Democracy ??? Never allowed vote for who you are told and conditioned for work til your 70 then please die before we have to pay some of your own money back

      Rant over and I still feel unclean from mentioning the scum gutter press. Urghhhh

    4. Daniel Sandford is an extremely useful idiot for the Establishment. He thinks the Assange hearing is “repetitive”. Repetitive?? Repetitive FFS!!! Even someone as obviously captured and blinkered as Sandford has to see that the case represents an attack on EVERY journalist, no matter where they live, who attempts to speak truth to power or who tries to expose the war crimes of any government or nation. Can he not see that it is him and his colleagues for whom the US and the UK will come for next? If this extradition is successful (and I have no doubt that it will be successful – you only have to look at the perversion of justice that is happening daily at the Old Bailey during this trial) it will be a damaging blow struck against Press freedom which will impact reporters in every country of the world. I don’t know who should be most shame-faced: the BBC, the Guardian or the British Government. All have behaved disgracefully.

    5. Having read every single thing I can find on the web about this trial (a show trial that Stalin would have been proud of) I have one to the conclusion that British Justice is no longer alive, that our free press are anything but and that Trump and his merry band of lunatics call all the shots in this country.

      The BBC and news has become like chips with custard sounds OK but in reality never happens. The news from the BBC might as well have Boris as the newscaster or even better bring in the faceless security service that dictate the news to explain it. My first piece of news i would like to know is “if Novachock is a deadly weapons grade chemical weapon that only the Russians could have produced, why does it’s success rate run at 20% “ 1 person dead out of 5 attacked ? I bet Putin is having words with his scientists and next just for information why did the BBC start blurring the face of the man that took the famous photo of the skripals in the restaurant ? It wouldn’t be because he was British intelligence agent Pablo Miller would it? Surely not

    6. “Repetitive”??? What like wall-to-wall coverage of COVID-19 and Brexit that we’ve had to put up with for the last few years? Oh yes, the BBC/ITV lie machine has done a great job in getting its propaganda over to the public, so much so that they are so scared of walking outside their own front door and organising against the racist privileged class. Not me. “Don’t Believe the Hype”

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