State Propaganda against Julian Assange at the BBC ‘By Any Means’ – Updated

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My complaint to the BBC for the programme ‘By Any Means – Episode 3’

After seeing a WikiLeaks Tweet here:

I watched the BBC programme on the i-player and was prompted to send them a complaint. It is unacceptable that the TV License Fee that we are paying at a time of general austerity be used to create cheap propaganda drama to hype up cultural bias against Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. Who does the BBC think its audience is? Although ‘By any means Episode 3’ story is about a wealthy corrupt businessman, the script is ‘inspired’ by Julian Assange’s story, drawing obvious parallels between the two people creating a smear against Julian Assange’c character and by inference suggesting that his capture ‘By Any Means’ is acceptable to society. I wrote to the BBC using their online complaints submission system and I received the following reply/summary. I will update this post once I get their official reply to my complaint.

bbc_complaints_website@bbc.co.uk

Dear Mrs B*****

Thanks for contacting the BBC. This is an automated email confirming we have received the complaint below and submitted in this name via www.bbc.co.uk/complaints. Please do not reply to this email since it is generated from an unmonitored address. If you believe you have received this in error please contact us using our webform at www.bbc.co.uk/complaints.

We attach the text of the complaint for your records and will normally include it in our overnight report of all today’s audience reaction. This is circulated to BBC staff tomorrow (with your personal details removed) and ensures your points will reach the right people quickly. We aim normally to reply within 10 working days (around 2 weeks) depending on the nature of your complaint.

To make sure we use the licence fee efficiently we may not investigate every issue in detail, and for consistency may send the same reply if others have also complained about the same issue. For our full complaints procedures and how we consider the issues raised in feedback please read www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle-complaint/

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YOUR COMPLAINT:

Complaint Summary: State Propaganda against Julian Assange

Full Complaint:

I follow the fate of Julian Assange the Editor of WikiLeaks very closely. He sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in June 2012 and has been granted Political Asylum. The UK government refuses to grand him Safe Passage. Watching ‘By any means, Episode 3’ I am shocked at how the film follows the details of Julian Assange’s story eg Colombian Embassy featured in the film is in reality in the same building as the Ecuadorian Embassy, the MI5 team considers storming the building, but abandons the plan to avoid an international incident, in reality around 50 Metropolitan police officers did storm the building that houses the apartment of the Ecuadorian Embassy and only stopped when witnesses alerted the public who rushed to the scene. Other similarities include the British Asylee giving a ‘press conference’ from the window of the Colombian Embassy drawing a parallel to the two Assange Ecuadorian balcony speeches. The camera surveillance illegally installed in the Colombian Embassy reminds me of the listening devise that was found this June at the Ecuadorian Embassy. I am simply appaulled to watch on BBC a programme funded by my TV licence fee that so blatantly reeks of state propaganda aiming to create cultural bias against Mr Assange, smearing his character. Do you realize the moral responsibility this country and this government and this BBC has for the well being of this man who is held up as a hero by millions of people? I protest at this injustice.

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Thank you again for contacting us.

BBC Complaints

Update 16th of October 2013, Reply from the BBC

From: bbc_complaints_website@bbc.co.uk <bbc_complaints_website@bbc.co.uk>
Date: 16 October 2013 01:30
Subject: BBC Complaints – Case number CAS-2348233-D0JD99
To: Emilia B**** <redacted e-mail address>

Dear Mrs B*****

Reference CAS-2348233-D0JD99

Thanks for contacting us regarding the BBC One ‘By Any Means’ programme that was broadcast on 6 October.

We understand you felt the storyline in this episode was too similar regarding Julian Assange’s living arrangements at an embassy which you felt was biased.

Contemporary drama tends to reflect society as it is, including the tendency to mirror certain situations that have sparked interest and debate in the public arena.

It must be stressed that the episode in question did feature a character being holed up in the Colombian Embassy, but in the context of the storyline it clearly had nothing to do with Julian Assange as the episode followed the team tracking down a ruthless property developer Phillip Granger, who the team believe may have deliberately burnt a building to the ground, which resulted in a number of people being killed.

Nevertheless as we’re guided by the feedback we receive I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, the production team for ‘By Any Means’ and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Kind Regards

John M*****

BBC Complaints

www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.

I am now wondering what to do next. Would @medialens be interested in the BBC response?