Fox attacks BBC's coverage of Iraq

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The Independent Online

A senior Tory has attacked the BBC's coverage of the problems in Iraq and accused the corporation of undermining British troops.

Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary, has accused the BBC of pumping out "unrelentingly negative" reports about Iraq without giving adequate coverage to more positive developments.

He received complaints from British servicemen on a visit to Basra and promised to raise their "frustration and irritation" with BBC chiefs. One soldier said: "The BBC will report if we get shot at or killed, but not if we reconnect electricity, repair sewers or rebuild a bridge."

BBC journalists said they had a duty to tell "the whole story - good and bad" in Iraq, pointing out that the situation in some parts has deteriorated since the invasion. They cited recent positive reports showing how troops helped the Marsh Arabs restore their land and said coalition forces did not always want coverage of rebuilding projects in case they became targets for insurgents.