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BBC Scotland refuses to answer ‘Broken Ankle Man’ complaint – Towards Indyref2…

BBC Scotland refuses to answer ‘Broken Ankle Man’ complaint

BBC Scotland chiefs have refused to answer a complaint into a controversial news story dubbed ‘Broken Ankle Man’ after claiming the complaint had not been submitted correctly.

The complaint, which centred on a story broadcast on January 9th, was published online after it emerged the online form provided by the BBC was too limited to accommodate all of the text.  When submitting the complaint, the complainant explained the reasons for doing so.

He wrote: “The complaint relates to news coverage across several BBC Scotland platforms, including online, TV and radio. The complaint uses several recordings in the form of links and thus cannot be submitted in hard-copy writing. The online form is insufficient to enter all of the complaint. For that reason I have had it published on an online blog. The full complaint is available to review here: http://indyref2.scot/a-bbc-scotland-complaint-broken-ankle-man”

The complaint was accepted by the BBC complaints team and eight days later an acknowledgement sent which indicated it had been passed on to BBC Scotland to address.

“This is an update to let you know that we had referred your complaint to the relevant people and regret that it may take a little longer before we can reply. Please do not contact us in the meantime.”

However four days later another email, this time from BBC Scotland, indicated that the complaint would be ignored as it had not been submitted using an acceptable format.

A BBC Scotland official wrote: “I am afraid I will have to ask you to resubmit this complaint. We cannot accept parts of a complaint to which you wish a response other than in written form on the website or by letter, in each case not exceeding 1,000 words without due reason given for consideration of longer complaints. An exception might be if you provided a link to a BBC online story which was the cause of your complaint.”

The original broadcast which led to the complaint featured a man who claimed to have broken his ankle over the festive season and had subsequently endured over a week of pain before being treated at his local A&E department.  The man’s story appeared during a difficult period for the Scottish NHS with waiting times at A&E departments struggling to get any where near the four hour target.

It later emerged that the man had voluntarily left A&E before being seen by a medical professional.  The BBC had cut the admission from its flagship evening news programme Reporting Scotland.

Allan Browne was also linked to a twitter account and facebook page which contained anti-catholic and racist comments.  Disgusting insults targeting Nicola Sturgeon and messages linking the SNP to Fascism and Nazism were also visible.

The BBC’s refusal to even consider the ‘Broken Ankle Man’ complaint comes only days after the its Scotland Editor, Sarah Smith, was forced to apologise after she was found to have inflated Scottish A&E waiting time figures.

Smith told viewers to the BBC’s News at Six programme that over 100,000 people had waited over four hours at Scottish A&E Departments in one week.  The actual figure was 5686.  The BBC has thus far refused to broadcast a correction and an apology on the same programme.  Smith instead posted an apology on twitter.


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12 thoughts on “BBC Scotland refuses to answer ‘Broken Ankle Man’ complaint

  1. Gregor

    Disgraceful and unacceptable evasion. Publicly unaccountable BBC does possess ethics, morals and standards. I’ve experienced similar with the BBC (before it corruptly sanctioned me and stopped directly corresponding), wherein it exploited the complaint process ‘time-frame’ as justification not to address my complaint, when in fact all my correspondence was well within the standard BBC public complaint time-frame – It was the BBC whom deliberately took longer than its standard complaints procedure to address my complaint and thus used it as faudulent justification to close the public complaint.

  2. Robert Graham

    They can so they do , and do exactly what they want with absolutely no fear the unionist press will follow the story , game , set , match ,

    As near to a totalitarian state as you can get , North Korea could learn from this lot .

    All this while the proud scots sleep , waken up you total fools and idiots .

  3. Jockanese Wind Talker

    We should not be surprised.

    The BBC is only operating in full accordance with its Royal Charter.


    “The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows.”

    “6: The BBC should bring people together for shared experiences and help contribute to the social cohesion and wellbeing of the United Kingdom.”

    But this is in direct contradiction to

    “1: (1) To provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them: the BBC should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. Its content should be provided to the highest editorial standards. It should offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers, using the highest calibre presenters and journalists, and championing freedom of expression, so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens.“

    The BBC exists to protect and maintain the UK and as a result is Westminster’s Propaganda Wing in Scotland.

    As a result the BBC is not fit for purpose in Scotland.

    It is past time for a high profile campaign of non payment of the BritNat Propaganda Tax.

  4. Annabella

    Why is the SG not addressing this, it now goes well beyond relying on the Scottish public to call out the BBC when theyre continuously lying and distorting the facts. People are forced by law to pay for a tv licence or are penalised, even if they never watch a BBC channel. Thanks to this site, WOS, Talking up Scotland etc there is a well documented catalogue of evidence of bias and lies, surely enough to present a legal challenge of the BBC news output.

  5. grizebard

    I’ve had this problem too, though on a smaller scale. The amount of space allowed to make a complaint is absurdly restrictive, thereby obliging the details of a complex case to be attenuated to the point that the standard superficial shrug-off reply is always relatively easy to make.

    The BBC’s complaints handling system is totally unfit for purpose, if the criterion is effective program-making response to legitimate concerns.

    It’s superbly fit for purpose, though, if the criterion is to efficiently bat off the vast majority of complaints regardless of quality or justification and (as one suspects, but the BBC keeps secret) the number of complaints is substantial.

  6. Sandy Cuthbert

    I suspect that if someone submitted a freedom of info request asking the BBC how many of these complaints were upheld in the last 5 years the answer would be a big fat 0. The BBC is a British state propaganda machine.

    1. Jockanese Wind Talker

      Sandy the BBC doesn’t answer FOIs (claim that they don’t have to under their Charter).


      It makes lots of them though so they can do a “BBC Investigation has found…..” EssEnnPeeBaaad report on Scotlands Public Services etc.

      Pretty sure I saw figures for FOIs against Scotland,England,Wales and NI Governments and massive variation with Scottish Government getting the most.

      Can’t find a link unfortunately.

  7. Clydebuilt

    grizebard @

    The BBC’s complaint handling system is totally fit for THEIR purpose.

    The BBC doesn’t want successful complaints bring made that gives them problems. . . . Hence a complaint handling system that prevents problematic complaints from bring made!

  8. Lollysmum

    The BBC doesn’t accept FOI requests. It considers itself to be above accounting for it’s actions to its funders… the public. How much more will you take before telling BBC where to put it’s TV licence?

  9. Lochside

    The disturbing fact is that this situation has been escalating for the 10 years that the SNP have been in power at Hollyrood. It is now at fever pitch. Not only is the BBC’s complaints’ procedure a grotesque charade , but no comments are allowed on Scottish political issues, unless aired on the ‘National’i.e English threads. A discriminatory and illegal act.

    Yet no judicial moves are made; no mass campaign of non payment of the BBC tax initiated; and no official complaints by the SNP. The disjunction between the SNP and their natural constituency of members and non members but fellow Independence supporters is baffling and frustrating.

    Are we to let the BBC win the next elections and REF for unionism by default of silence on the part of our legitimate government? We are facing a media led coup of people’s opinions via blunt fake lies and propaganda. How else can you explain the SNP’s declining situation other than by the twin evils of their passive acceptance of this attack on our democracy and the Britnat tsunami of union jockery?

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