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tv   Newswatch  BBC News  November 11, 2017 3:45am-4:00am GMT

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when the soon—to—be ex—international development secretary reached heathrow airport, the coverage switched from flight tracker to helicopter camera, and the complaints continued. here's roy ramm: it was a huge information dump, the leak of over 13 million documents, worked on for a year by almost 100 different media organisations. a lot of work clearly went into the so—called paradise papers, and despite it being a busy news week as well, the bbc gave the story a lot of airtime. tonight on panorama,... it started at 6pm on sunday with a panorama special,
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and more than half of the news at ten was dedicated to the subject, pushing a report of the texas shooting and new allegations against damian green down the running order. on monday, there was another hour—long panorama special, watched by neil spellings: immediatedly following panorama was the bbc news at ten o'clock. this dedicated the first half of the show, so 15 minutes, covering exactly the same topics that had just been shown immediately previous to the news by panorama. i thought it was a strange editorial decision to repeat so much content immediately adjacent to programmes, especially when the news were using the same clips of richard bilton doorstepping celebrities outside the studios, and with the same infographics and pretty much everything. it was like a panorama—lite for 15 minutes. the paradise papers also led bbc one bulletins
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for a third night on tuesday, ahead of the death of welsh politician carl sargea nt and the ongoing travails of borisjohnson and priti patel. so was the big investigation worth the prominence given to it? not according to scores of viewers, including paul titley, who asked: others targeted in the investigation, or hounded as several viewers saw it, were actors from mrs brown's boys, conservative party donor lord ashcroft, us commerce secretary wilbur ross and formula 1 driver lewis hamilton. the latter case prompted sandra lipscomb to record this video. i was really incensed the other morning, listening about lewis hamilton
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and his avoidance of vat. all of us, no matter who we are, it's human nature. if we can save a few pennies, we will. why aren't they going, or you going after the likes of these financial experts, who are being paid lots of money by celebrities to help save them money? and also, hmrc. they need some whizzkids to sort out these loopholes. with me now to explore coverage of the paradise papers story is james stephenson, news editor for bbc news. welcome to newswatch. we kept hearing the phrase "none of this is illegal", so who exactly were you targeting in this investigation? well, it's perhaps worth saying that, as you and many of your listeners will know, this was an enormous project over a long timespan and only began with the leak of the documents. after that, there was a great deal
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of journalistic work to sift through and identify stories that we should be doing, and notjust do stories because names were found in papers. we applied a very rigorous public interest test above and beyond "is it interesting 7 " to the stories we decided to take on. which was? it varied from case to case, and that was part of the complexity that the panorama team and the wider news operation had to work through. each case was somewhat different, but where people were simply, to use that phrase, avoiding tax, we didn't think that that was in itself a reason to include them in our coverage. if it was aggressive tax avoidance or if it was tax evasion, or if there were some other big public interest element, we felt that was the reason why we would do a story rather than leave it to one side. of course, tax evasion is illegal whereas tax avoidance, even at the blurry line, is legal. why didn't you focus just on the firms and advisers, instead of tarnishing the reputation
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of, say, the queen? i think we did do that. we obviously thought carefully about what was a story and how we should present the story and whether it was newsworthy. as you saw, we concluded that it was. the most newsworthy thing was that these tax havens around the world had had all their documents from this company, appleby, but also from the company registers in these places revealed. and we felt that that was in itself a big story worthy of reporting. we then moved on to reporting individual cases where we felt there were controversial issues to be raised or issues of public interest to be considered. one of the other issues which came up is that it has been a very busy news week. the biggest complaint we got was how much airtime this got, sometimes half of a bulletin
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when there were important stories such as the foreign secretary's comments about a british citizen in an iranianjail. we feel we have done justice to those other stories as well. it's part of the nature of news and part of the nature of bbc news that we often have to do several very big stories at one time. it is worth saying that the priti patel story was broken byjames landale, our diplomatic correspondent. so it wasn't that we focused all our energies on one story and not on others. but we did feel that this long investigation with these high—profile companies and individuals was worthy of the time we gave it. we also gave some additional airtime to two things. one was to put into broader context what tax havens are, how they have grown up over the century, so people will have seen, on sunday night, our economics editor kamal ahmed stepping through that. and we also had reaction. we had an interview with wilbur ross after the revelation. so it wasn't just the original journalism. we were also doing the context and the follow—up. we can tell that it was a huge, coordinated news operation
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with international partners. it even had its own hashtag, paradise papers. again, viewers feel that in the end, this wasn't the big scoop that you are claiming and the amount of coverage was self—indulgent. people will have to judge that for themselves. i think different viewers will have different views on that. if you take one example, apple, apple is the biggest company in the world, and we've revealed where it places its funding, effectively its wealth, offshore. where did the papers come from? we actually don't know. what we do know is — in one sense, we do. they came from appleby originally, which is this law firm which has offices in these various tax havens. it came into the possession of suddeutsche zeitung, a german newspaper. they then collaborated with the
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icij, the international consortium of investigativejournalists, and bbc panorama is one of the partners among 100 partners in that consortium. but we don't know how the leak happened. are you comfortable with that? some viewers feel it is unethical for the bbc to publish them. we are. we have taken the decision that there is a public interest, but it takes us back to the point i'm making, which is that we haven't simply published what is in those documents, we have gone through a lengthyjournalistic, editorial and legal process including right to reply by the people concerned, to establish that we think there is a public interest above and beyond simply the fact that people appear in these papers. is there a risk to the bbc‘s values if it partners in this way in future, do you think? i don't. we didn't subcontract our editorial judgments to the icu. they have done an outstanding job in corralling this group of investigative journalists, something that a few years ago
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would have seemed a very improbable thing for investigative journalism. but we have made our own editorial decisions about which stories we thought we should do, which we thought were justified. if we didn't think they met the standards of what we wanted to broadcast, we didn't put them out on any of our platforms. james stephenson, thank you. finally, a very unusual picture appeared on the bbc news website on monday. this anonymous caller describes what she saw and what she thought of it. of the bbc news web pages. hello, i've been increasingly frustrated by the dumbing down of the bbc news web pages. i finally reached the limit when i looked and saw an item which was "my dog looks like donald trump's face". i think you're just trying to appeal to masses and dumbing down. if people want to read that stuff, they can read it elsewhere. that is not what bbc news is for and i hope you get that message loud and clear from other people too. thank you for your
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comments this week. if you want to share your opinions on bbc news and current affairs within appear on the programme, you call us or e—mail us. you can find us on twitter, and do have a look at our website for previous discussions. that's all from us. we'll be back to hear your thoughts about bbc news coverage again next week. goodbye. hello. we are having to look into the atlantic for some elements of this weekend's weather for some parts of the british isles. what was tropical storm rina won't be giving us gale force winds, but it will import some really warm and moist tropical airs, which will manifest themselves on the start of saturday as a lot of cloud and rain for the southern half of the british isles. a much fresher aspect to the weather
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as we head into scotland. wintry showers across high ground. at least there's sunshine to speak of and that persists into the afternoon. some of the showers turning wintry, down to about 300 metres or so. snow will lie on high ground of scotland, but at least there will be sunshine to speak of. northern ireland — a cloudy afternoon. a bit of brightness perhaps and brightening skies coming from the north of england, especially down the eastern side, but generally speaking as you come back through the midlands towards the south of wales and into the southern counties of england it may be one of those afternoons where the rain sticks around for the greater part of the day, so that's going to be a nuisance in cardiff, but at least there's going to be brighter skies for the visit of samoa to murrayfield. the thicker cloud thickens even further in southern counties of england and wales for a time through the night. just pepping up the rainfall.
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further north the skies remain clearfor some. a dotting of showers still perhaps and again wintry across high ground. once that set of fronts in the south pulls into the near continent, notice that the air flows down those isobars from the north to the south. never a warm direction. all of us will experience that marked change in the feel of the day on sunday, remembrance sunday of course. yes, a scattering of showers around the exposed shores, fully exposed to the northerly wind. but down the spine of the country there could be a good deal of sunshine, but it will do nothing for the temperatures. seven, eight, nine degrees for many. next week starts cold and frosty, then it gets a little bit milder in the middle of the week and there will be some rain around. so there's a frosty start for the greater part of england and wales, the eastern part of scotland too, but here the first signs of that change into something milder as we bring the fronts into parts of scotland and eventually into northern ireland. from monday into tuesday, no more the northerly,
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the isobars are cranked into a westerly, and that's why the weather will become milder. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is duncan golestani. our top stories: power games in lebanon. politicians warn iran and saudi arabia against waging proxy war for control of the country. it looks like a new trans—pacific trade deal is moving forward without the usa. canada drops its objections. american tv comedian, louis ck, admits claims of sexual misconduct against him are true. and supermodel, naomi campbell, tells the bbc that current allegations about sexual abuse in the fashion industry are "just the beginning."
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