Olympics 2012: BBC Boss Tells News Staff Not to Focus Too Much on British Success

Mark Thompson
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Mark Thompson says the broadcaster is "right" to celebrate the home team's victories, but it wants to also "fully reflect some of the other great sporting achievements."


LONDON - Outgoing BBC director general Mark Thompson has told staff of the U.K. public broadcaster to make sure not to emphasize British successes too heavily in news coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

A spokesman confirmed a Telegraph report that Thompson told staff Thursday also to continue to highlight “other great sporting achievements” from other countries in news programs.

The guidance comes after some observers abroad have raised questions about the BBC's at times patriotic Summer Games coverage given its traditional reputation for impartiality.

STORY: Olympics 2012, U.S., International Sports Media Coverage Differ in Approach to Patriotism

But a BBC spokesman emphasized to THR that Thompson's guidance wasn't meant as a complaint or criticism of the broadcaster's sports coverage.

“I am as delighted as our audiences and the whole BBC team about the brilliant performance," Thompson said in a statement provided by the spokesman. "And it is quite wrong to suggest otherwise."

Thompson added: “The BBC has been right to focus on sporting achievements, which the whole country has been celebrating, and we will continue to do so with pride.

But he also emphasized that “we can do that while at the same time making sure that our news programs fully reflect some of the other great sporting achievements and human stories of the London Games.”

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai