TV war coverage 'should be biased'

Contrary to established wisdom that British viewers dislike partial news coverage, a survey has shown that viewers expect war news reporting to be biased in favour of British troops.

According to the study, viewers said they found biased coverage during the war in Iraq to be “fully justifiable and appropriate”.

While some survey respondents complained that news reports were government-led, while anti-war demonstrations and “atrocities” by US troops being overlooked, most said that partial coverage from a British perspective was appropriate.

The report said: “Their argument was that a war was a crisis situation which requires a different response from broadcasters. These people often felt, moreover, that the news coverage, in this respect, was often not partial enough.”

The Independent Television Commission, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and Radio Authority carried out the research, talking to 20 people during three one-day workshops.

An ITC survey published last month, conducted in April, found only 33 per cent thought that broadcasters had a duty to support the Government in times of war, while 32 per cent disagreed and 36 per cent “didn’t know”.

By Sarah Boden

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