BBC to publish complaints every fortnight
The BBC is to publish detailed information about the complaints it receives from viewers after Ofcom, the media regulator, demanded that the corporation became more transparent.
Under new rules the BBC will have to reveal the number of complaints it receives every fortnight, identify the shows that received more than 100 complaints, and explain the editorial issues raised by the complaints and whether they were upheld.
The move will offer an unprecedented insight into how audiences react to BBC programmes. But it has prompted an angry response from the BBC, which initially fought against publishing the figures amid concerns that it would be expensive and time consuming.
The BBC is expected to publish the first wave of information about complaints under the new system within the next few days.
BBC programmes that have attracted criticism in recent weeks include Gunpowder, a drama starring Game of Thrones star Kit Harington which was attacked on social media for being too violent. ITV and Channel 4 already disclose information about complaints every two weeks,however Ofcom only began regulating the BBC this year.
At present the BBC just publishes the total number of complaints it has received every month, without identifying programmes.
Ofcom had given the corporation until the end of this week to respond to its demand about publishing fortnightly data. The BBC confirmed that it had agreed and would respond to Ofcom. In September a senior director at Ofcom wrote to the BBC after the corporation expressed its opposition to the plans.
Kevin Bakhurst, a director at Ofcom and previously a BBC News executive, wrote a strongly-worded letter to David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards at the BBC.
He said: “We continue to consider that the greater transparency we proposed is necessary to build and maintain public confidence in the operation of the BBC under the new framework and to provide public accountability. In our view, fortnightly publication is appropriate given the period within which complaints are made and most complaints are resolved by the BBC.”