MP accuses BBC News of 'dramatising economic woes'

A Liberal Democrat MP has tabled a motion in parliament accusing the BBC of ‘dramatising’ its reporting of the economic downturn engulfing the country.

John Pugh, the MP for Southport, has called for academic research to be commissioned into the influence of the media’s reporting on “the fragile psychology of the City and on the real jobs of ordinary people”.

His early day motion, tabled this week, criticises what Pugh said was “the readiness of the BBC, with its significant global reach to further dramatise, accentuate and underline economic woes”.

It so far attracted signatures from four other MPs.

The House of Commons treasury committee is to look at the role of the media in its ongoing investigation into the banking crisis.

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, Daily Mail City editor Alex Brummer and Guardian journalist Simon Jenkins have been called to give evidence to the committee next week.

Also giving evidence will be BBC business editor Robert Peston, who broke several stories including the news that Lloyds TSB was to take over HBOS and that Northern Rock had agreed an emergency loan from the Bank of England to keep it afloat.

The BBC said in a statement: “There are serious economic problems confronting the global and UK economy but it’s not true to say that the BBC’s accurate, impartial journalism has contributed in any way to those problems.

“The BBC continues to report the economic situation in a measured and analytical way, without speculation – as indeed our audiences expect us to do.

“Both the size of our audiences and measures of audience trust and appreciation have risen during our reporting of the situation and this trust is based on the BBC being open and accountable in our reporting.

“We will continue to provide the best possible analysis and context of the situation.”

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