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Reporting must be unbiased and factual, says Tees Valley Women in Business forum

The Tees Valley Women in Business event

Odyssey Systems has hosted the latest Women in Business event which put the role and ethics of the BBC firmly in the picture.

The discussion group, which meets on a regular basis at the telecommunication company’s Stockton headquarters, also raised the question of how news is reported by the media in general and the blurring of opinion and facts.

The forum, which involves several leading Tees Valley businesswomen, acknowledged that while the BBC is an important source of political news it should be, above all, accurate.

Members felt there is a perception – reflected by its coverage of the Brexit debate – that it often fails to remain neutral, with much of its output biased towards the ‘Remain’ campaign.

Christine Gilbert, director of Odyssey Systems, said: “The consensus around the table was that while the BBC continues to be funded by the licence fee, it has a duty to be truthful, moral and impartial.

“Much of the reporting by the mainstream media in general is sensationalised, which only succeeds in obscuring the reality of the situation. The phrase ‘in the public interest’ is always bandied about but is often just an excuse to ridicule and discredit people with little justification.”

The group also discussed the media’s overwhelmingly negative reporting surrounding the arrest of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack and the dramatic shift in attitude following her tragic death.

The meeting also heard a piece of positive news from member Karen Shields after LNER replaced her lost rail ticket at a discounted rate and then, on learning it was her birthday, sent her a bouquet of flowers. Everyone agreed this was a great example of excellent customer service.

Those attending the meeting were: Linda Wearmouth, Christine Gilbert, Danuta Czerwinska, Fiona Charlton, Joanne Dougherty, Angela Morton, Louise Wheatley, Chris Nolan, Barbara Brooks, Jill Tyerman, Cath Devereux, Karen Shields and Marnie Crowther.