Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BBC broadcast a lie on Auroville to millions of people

Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Christine Rhone
BBC Complaints, PO Box 1922, Glasgow G2 3WT, Scotland
27 May 2008, London
Dear Sir or Madam,

The item on Auroville shown on Newsnight on 21 May was a highly biased and prejudiced story, unworthy of the BBC. To see so many misrepresentations and distortions in one news clip degrades the credibility of all BBC reporting. My view of its integrity has permanently changed.

The main point of your item was that Auroville does nothing to combat child abuse. And that is - quite simply – untrue. Like most communities, urban or rural, in the civilized world, Auroville does combat child abuse of every kind.

The reporter, Rachel Wright, must be at a point in her career where she wants to move up from stories about ‘school trips in jeopardy', ‘reassuring poorer students', and the fact that ‘couples are usually made up of taller men and smaller women'. A good career boost would surely be to come up with a story something along the lines of the recent FLDS child abuse allegations in Texas , unearthing as many similarities as possible.

Intent on producing such a story, she carefully chose only interviewees and witnesses who would support her stance. She did not attempt to provide a balanced picture. The only interview of an Aurovilian, Carel Thieme, was tacked onto the end of the clip like a concessionary afterthought, done long-distance. The quality of the sound was poor, and there was no footage of him. Perhaps your reporter thought it best to leave Auroville before interviewing anyone who knows it in depth.

It is one thing for an ambitious reporter to try to advance her career by misrepresentation, but quite another for an authority like the BBC to broadcast a lie to millions of people.

Yours truly,
Christine Rhone London
Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Christine Rhone

1 comment:

  1. The whole world knows that the Auroville project is based on a spurious and dangerous ideology and the more journalists who uncover its corrupt and corrupting core the better. It is simply a magnet for rich, frustrated westerners to live out their simple-minded utopian fantasies in a poor region of India well away from the clutches of a properly organised criminal justice system. The project brings no discernible benefit to the local population and indeed it rigorously enforces its own apartheid code - it is a statement of fact that there are beaches in the vicinity set aside for the sole use of aurovillains which is in effect an old-fashioned colour bar. The only reason previous child abuse problems have failed to make headlines is because the organisation is so rich, powerful and well-connected that it has been able to keep such problems well away from the media and public consumption. There is also a vicious irony in this attack on this BBC journalist's professionalism and integrity given that I believe that Mark Tully is a key member of the Auroville board yet has failed in his journalistic duty to bring the many, manifest and often criminal probelms associated with this awful place to light.