American journalist Glenn Greenwald once stated that “a key purpose of journalism is to provide an adversarial check on those who wield the greatest power.” This belief holds that a journalist must use his or her platform to speak for the underrepresented. However, BBC — one of the most highly regarded news institutions in the world — has so far done a poor job of providing all the details to riots taking place in London.

 

This past Thursday, incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron surprised many when elected to stay in office for another five years. At the election’s conclusion, many British citizens took to the streets in protest. BBC mostly reported these protests as violent, extreme and as “the worst of Britain,” echoing the words of David Cameron. Much of BBC’s reporting focused on the “small minority” of violent protesters and one particular instance involved the defacing of a WWII memorial.

 

Crowds in London flood streets, hold signs that read "63% said not Tory"

London has erupted in riots after the re-election of Prime Minister David Cameron. (tumblr.com)

Even though some protesters were indeed violent and a memorial was vandalized, BBC failed to thoroughly report the scale of the protests or the source of such discontent. Many photographs surfaced on the Internet showing thousands of British citizens taking to the streets to have their voices heard, but many of BBC’s photos showed them marching peacefully. Additionally, some initial BBC reports stated that only 100 people had taken to the streets, when photos suggest a much larger crowd of participants.

 

Many of the people marching on those streets identify as part of the “anti-austerity” movement; they feel Cameron’s cuts over the last few years have weakened the nation. In particular, many feel he has neglected important financial issues, such as the minimum wage and affordable housing.

 

Paying attention to only the BBC reports, it would almost seem easy to mistake these riots with one that occurs after a soccer match. The publicly funded broadcasting company has frankly done a poor job of providing multiple sides to this nuanced story.

 

Even though this protest went viral on its own, how important do you think it is for BBC to have also covered this story? Share your thoughts below or find me on Twitter @connerws.