BBC Trust orders news coverage review


LONDON -- The BBC will examine the way its news and factual coverage across Britain is panning out amid increasing devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The move, by the BBC Trust, is billed as an impartiality review and is the first to be commissioned by the trust since being set up in January.

The report comes on the heels of feedback from the Trust's Audience Councils and audience research demanding a look at the issue, the BBC Trust said.

Richard Tait, BBC Trustee and chair of the trust's Editorial Standards Committee, said: "The BBC is committed to providing impartial news and factual coverage for license fee payers across the U.K. The substantial devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the past decade has led to new challenges for the BBC in providing appropriate and relevant network coverage for each of the four nations."

Tait said the review "will consider whether the nations' differing policies -- with regard to both devolved policies and other matters -- are properly reflected in the BBC's network output and whether the BBC provides appropriate coverage of the actions and policies of the devolved administrations and reaction to them."

The research will analyze network coverage of the four nations, notably of devolution and devolution issues, during the England local elections and national elections in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in spring 2007.

The trust expects to receive and publish a final report in early summer 2008.