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BBC answers ANC ‘racism’ claim February 21, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Racism, Racist, South Africa, South African.

The BBC has written to the African National Congress challenging allegations of racism in its reporting.The BBC World editorial director, Sian Kevill, gave detailed examples of the range of the BBC’s African news coverage after complaints about a report by John Simpson on crime in Johannesburg..

Simpson’s report focused on the 50 murders in South Africa every day, and the controversial corruption claims made against police chief Jackie Selebi.

On Friday, the ANC published an article in its weekly online newsletter that claimed Simpson’s report reinforced stereotypes of South Africa as the crime capital of the world, and did not include positive developments in the country.

The ANC’s article likened the BBC to the “most die-hard racists in the country” and said such reports helped to feed “the deeply embedded stereotype that Africans are genetically inferior”.

Ms Kevill said the BBC had reviewed Simpson’s report and stood by both its journalism and by Simpson.

“John is one of the BBC’s most senior world affairs correspondents who first visited South Africa in 1976. He has spent many years as both the BBC’s Southern Africa correspondent and to cover specific events such as the end of the apartheid regime,” said the letter.

“In a career spanning more than 30 years, John has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most experienced and authoritative journalists.”

Ms Kevill said that South Africa features regularly on the channel’s news and documentary programming, and referred to recent positive stories on Soweto schools, economic growth taking place ahead of the 2010 World Cup and two month-long special features on Africa and its people.

The letter also stated that the BBC has reported on gun crime in other cities around the world including Delhi, Rio and south London.

“We do not accept the ANC’s comments or analysis of our coverage, and will continue to cover South African news and business stories on BBC World accurately and in depth.”

CARD {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: guardian.co.uk

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