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BBC accused of organic bias

Date Published: 18/11/2009

Sometimes you’re just left scratching your head.

Here’s a simple scenario: BBC One’s Countryfile does a piece looking at the state of the market for organic food. Fair enough.

In it they talk to people involved in organic food and get a rather perceptive take from a marketer on how the sector could be pushing itself (putting aside, for a moment, the fierce and constant opposition from the ASA and FSA to even the most innocuous claim made by organics).

You wouldn’t think there was anything more controversial than normal in any of that. But no. Wait a moment. Who’s this galloping over the horizon waving a red biro and a flag saying “I’m a licence payer too!”? Aha, tis the Crop Protection Association, which, according to Farmers Guardian, has complained to the BBC Trust because the programme didn’t include any representatives of non-organic food and farming…………………………………….

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of a gentle wind blowing tumble weed down the street as everyone stands still and tries to figure out what on earth the CPA people can have been thinking.

It seems the best they can come up with is that Countryfile was ‘favourable’ to organic farming while portraying non-organic farming ‘neutrally’. Yes, well, that would be neutral as in not part of the report in the first place.

Honestly, that fact that word had gone around the organic community that a piece was going to be on Countryfile should be an indicator¬† that it’s still rare enough to be noteworthy, so why the CPA’s Dominic Dyer is so rattled about non-organic farming not being part of the report is baffling.

At OF&G we have every respect for all UK farmers, which is probably why we WON’T be writing to the chairman of the BBC Trust demanding that organic farming is mentioned every time there is a report on non-organic farming on the BBC. Can’t say fairer than that.