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BBC Trust launches impartiality review of 'Arab Spring' coverage

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

October 26, 2011 | 2 min read

The BBC Trust is launching an impartiality review into BBC coverage of the 'Arab Spring' - beginning with events in Tunisia in December 2010 and, following on from that, events in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

The review, the latest in a series to assess the impartiality of the BBC's output, will include content analysis, interviews with interested parties, and audience research. The findings will be published in autumn 2012.

It will be led by Edward Mortimer, senior vice president of the Salzburg Global Seminar, former UN director of communications and expert in Middle East affairs, who said: "I am honoured and excited by this assignment. Events in the Middle East during 2011 up-ended many widely accepted notions about the region. Such stories are always the most exciting for journalists to cover, but also present many challenges. It will be fascinating to examine in detail how the BBC rose to these."

Alison Hastings, BBC Trustee and chair of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, said: "The events that came to be known as the Arab Spring were extremely fast-moving and complex. That makes it a difficult story to cover. The challenge for the BBC, as with all controversial areas, is to ensure that it maintains the high standards of impartiality and accuracy that audiences expect, both in the UK and around the world, where many rely on the BBC's international news services.

"We are delighted that Edward Mortimer has agreed to lead this important review for the Trust – his distinguished record, and expertise, in both Middle East issues and journalism, will be a great asset."

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