BBC hits back at 'mischievous' Olympics reports

The BBC has denied claims that its director-general Mark Thompson told staff he was ‘increasingly unhappy’with the corporation’s coverage of the Olympics.

A report in the Daily Mail today quoted an email it claims was sent to staff from director of news Helen Boaden titled ‘An order from the DG”, saying: “Mark Thompson is increasingly unhappy that we are focusing far too much on Team GB’s performance to the exclusion of all else.

‘This is also becoming a theme within the Press. As editor in chief, he has issued a directive that this needs to change from today. So you need to get cracking on making that shift.”

The paper also quoted a BBC insider saying ”it would be a shame if we had to water down our coverage to satisfy an abstract notion of fairness”.

But in a statement released this morning the BBC said: ‘We emphatically deny that the Director-General has made any complaint about the nature of our news coverage of the Olympics and to suggest otherwise is mischievous and wrong. Mark Thompson made his position perfectly clear in the statement he released yesterday.”

In his statement Thompson said: ‘I am as delighted as our audiences and the whole BBC team about the brilliant performance of Team GB – and it is quite wrong to suggest otherwise.

‘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. We can do that while at the same time making sure that our news programmes fully reflect some of the other great sporting achievements and human stories of the London Games.”

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