BBC issue response to Question Time complaint over inaccuracy about Covid testing figures

The BBC Executive Complaints Unit has issued a response to a BBC Question Time complaint.

A complaint was raised after an exchange between the presenter, Fiona Bruce, and a panellist over the number of UK’s Covid testing programmes, and the clarification of the BBC had not been clear. 

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A panellist suggested that 240,000 tests a day were being conducted a day in September 2020 however Fiona Bruce highlighted that this was capacity and not the average number and that testing was at 81,000. This however was England’s figure alone. 

Some complained that the clarification was not accurate. 

The Executive Complaints Unit issued the following statement following the episode which aired on September 27th 2020. 

“The issue arose from the panellist’s suggestion that 240,000 tests a day were currently being conducted.  Ms Bruce said this figure referred to the UK’s capacity for daily testing, and gave the figure of 81,000 as the daily average of people being newly tested. 

“Although it was right to point out the important distinction between testing capacity and tests actually carried out, the figure of 81,000 was for England, and was not duly accurate in relation to the UK as a whole. 

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“This was made clear in the subsequent posting by BBC News on the Corrections and Clarifications page of bbc.co.uk. 

“The complainant contested the accuracy of the posting, but it appeared to the ECU that the discrepancy she observed arose from the fact that she had cited the relevant figure for the day of the programme’s transmission while, as Fiona Bruce had made clear, her reference was to what were then the most recent publicly available statistics, which were older and an average across a seven day period. 

“The ECU therefore did not agree that posting by BBC News was inadequate for its purpose.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992