A regional daily editor has lodged a formal complaint with the BBC after the corporation refused to hand over footage of a visit by the Prime Minister.
The BBC was chosen to cover David Cameron’s visit to Eastleigh ahead of the hotly contested by-election in the town – but despite a pooling agreement between media, the corporation refused to give footage to the Southern Daily Echo.
Bosses at the Beeb told editor Ian Murray that they did not recognise the paper as a broadcaster – despite the pooling agreement being designed to include all media.
Speaking to HTFP, Ian branded the decision “preposterous”.
“Apart from the fact we carry video on our website which attracts millions of hits each month, who are the BBC to decide who qualifies to get what material?” he said.
“We make available our photographs and copy from the times we are chosen as pool representatives in this by-election, and we pass that material on to all and every media including the BBC. This is yet another example of the BBC acting in an arrogant manner.
“All our people are now primed to raise the issue with the Conservative Party should the BBC be chosen to represent a media pool in future. We will want assurances that we will be able to get hold of the footage straight away.”
“We are the local paper for the area and arguably have more people there than anyone else – we have an office in Eastleigh and free weeklies covering the area as well as the Echo.
Ian said a spokesman for the BBC told them: “Our decision remains. We are not prepared to give you the footage because you are not part of the broadcast pool.”
As it turned out, the BBC’s film was passed on to ITV and also PA who then made it available to the Daily Echo.
The by-election was announced following the resignation of Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne, who admitted perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife took speeding points for him a decade ago.
A BBC spokesperson said: “UK Broadcasters belonging to the broadcast pool contribute to the cost of events and share copyright with the BBC.
“Outside of this arrangement the BBC is subject to fair trading regulations and has to charge a fair market rate for content.
“South Today acted within the terms of this pool arrangement. A clip of the Prime Minister’s visit to Eastleigh is available to embed from the BBC website and can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21465037.”