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Country News - 2003

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BBC admits country coverage failure

Monday 17 November 2003

THE BBC has decided - at long last, according to many critics - to improve its coverage of the countryside and rural affairs.

In deciding to give such news a "higher profile," the corporation has virtually admitted that, in recent years, its rural coverage policy has been a failure.

There has been a series of rows over the BBC's alleged lack of interest, the most vitriolic last year when the flagship Radio Four programme Today decided not to broadcast any reports of the Great Countryside March, which attracted an estimated 500,000 protestors to London.

As a result of that decision, a Today editor was forced to resign.

The decision to improve rural coverage was welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association (the CLA) even though it was "a little overdue."

A CLA statement issued this weekend comments: "The general lack of understanding of rural life and an inability, or unwillingness, to look behind the chocolate-box image has now been officially recognised and must change."

"Rural Britain is going through the biggest reform since the Industrial Revolution and it would be nice if the BBC were there to document some of it."


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