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.