BBC Trust rules Laura Kuenssberg inaccurately represented Jeremy Corbyn on shoot-to-kill

Trustees reject suggestion of a 'deliberate attempt to mislead audiences'

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 18 January 2017 12:49 GMT
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been criticised for her online behaviour.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been criticised for her online behaviour. (Getty)

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg inaccurately represented Jeremy Corbyn's views on shoot-to-kill policies in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the BBC Trust has ruled.

A viewer complained to the Trust about the November 2015 News at Six report on security measures being considered by the British government in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Ms Kuenssberg said that she had asked the Labour leader whether he would support a shoot-to-kill policy if a similar attack happened in London, and if he was Prime Minister.

The footage showed Mr Corbyn responding: “I’m not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counter-productive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can."

The viewer said this was misleading because no reference had been made to the Paris attacks when Mr Corbyn had been asked about the issue. They claimed it was "in order to cause Mr Corbyn maximum political damage".

The clip used on the programme was from a longer sequence in which Mr Corbyn and Ms Kuenssberg had discussed "the kinds of horror in Paris" moments earlier.

The BBC put its case and said the remarks were not taken out of context, that they were reported "accurately and impartially", and that Mr Corbyn "fully understood the import of the questions".

The interview, requested days after the Bataclan attack, was granted "with the clear understanding that Mr Corbyn would be asked for his view about what the Government should do to combat the jihadist threat in response to the Paris attacks", trustees noted.

Trustees rejected the idea there was a "deliberate attempt to mislead audiences", but said the broadcast was "not duly accurate" because it presented "an answer Mr Corbyn had given to a question about 'shoot to kill' as though it were his answer to a question he had not in fact been asked".

They added: "Trustees had no reason to doubt that the report for the News at Six had been compiled in good faith, and they noted the fact that the BBC had published the whole unedited interview on its website in advance of the News at Six."

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