Six times this morning, we heard:
‘Campaigners who’ve spent months opposing a development in Leith say the planning system is failing communities across Scotland. The Scottish Government is considering an appeal from a developer after Edinburgh council rejected plans for a hotel and student accommodation in Leith Walk. Opponents argue the appeal process is one-sided. They say the evictions of businesses from the building earmarked for demolition highlights the imbalance. Ministers insist new legislation makes the planning system more effective and gives the public more say.’
This is clearly a complex one which should not have been attempted in such limited time and repeated throughout the morning. It required us to see who the ‘campaigners’ and ‘opponents’ are, to judge their motivations. We needed to see what the development would look like. We needed to see what ‘businesses’ were threatened and hear how their importance might be judged against potential benefits of the new build. We, especially, needed to know how the campaigners justify the accusation of failure across Scotland, if, of course, they did actually say that.
The report, no surprise, does not meet the BBC’s own editorial guidelines:
This means all BBC output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, and corroborated. We should be honest and open about what we don’t know and avoid unfounded speculation. Claims, allegations, material facts and other content that cannot be corroborated should normally be attributed.
Any proposal to rely on a single unnamed source making a serious allegation or to grant anonymity to a significant contributor making a serious allegation must be referred to Director Editorial Policy and Standards and Programme Legal Advice.