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Campfire Voice - 20 Dec 2018


Tomorrow, Extinction Rebellion will hold a peaceful demonstration to call upon the BBC to convey the severity of the climate and ecological emergency we are experiencing.

The BBC, as a respected media voice in the UK, needs to take urgent action to inform its audience of the emergency we face and changes that need to be made.

Key Messages to Reclaim Our BBC

  • XR’s 8 Requests

  • The BBC needs to shine the light on the truth of the climate catastrophe.

  • It’s the BBC’s duty to present to the people the unbiased facts about the things that affect the people’s lives, like the climate emergency

  • We are here to remind the BBC of its historic role as our public service broadcaster.  During WW2 it sounded a rallying cry for unity in the face of annihilation and it must do so again.

  • The first Value of the BBC, is about trust and honesty - “Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.” They must fulfill their own values. 

  • The BBC’s Mission is, “To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that informeducate and entertain.” It is beholden to the public, not its financial interests. 

  • This is an emergency and the BBC’s coverage must be commensurate with the scale of the issues we are facing.  The recent What is Climate Change? fact sheet, updated 3 December 2018, fails completely to inform/educate about the scale of the emergency (see below for details).

Other information and ideas to use/read out tomorrow

  • The BBC’s Vision, Mission and Values are available here 

  • The BBC’s Pension Scheme has multiple investments with companies that are heavily financing the fossil fuel industry e.g. £26.6 million in BP plc. (see P.9-13) 

  • Is the following level of coverage appropriate for the scale of the emergency?  September 2018 - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres states ‘We face a direct existential threat’ and the BBC headline reports ‘ “Climate change moving faster than we are” says UN Secretary General’.  The accompanying article makes the first quote.

  • We will be mourning these tragic and preventable deaths as a result of climate change, as we will be in London with a candle lit vigil as the evening draws in: Over 70 people have died in Greece in forest fires over the summer.  Alexis Tsipras, “We mustn’t let mourning overwhelm us, because these hours are hours of battle, unity, courage and above all solidarity.”

  • There are 315,000 climate related deaths per year, as recorded in 2009 in a report commissioned by the Global Humanitarian Forum (p.11).  This article is very clear on the impacts of climate change, although it’s worth considering the conservative nature of the analysis that was taking place at the time, which is now almost 10 years ago. Also, tellingly, this organisation closed down that same year, due to lack of funding as the recession kicked in - It’s clear what international priorities were, and still are.

  • This is an emergency, and the BBC’s coverage must be commensurate with the scale of the issues we are facing.  The recent What is Climate Change? fact sheet, updated 3 December 2018, fails completely to inform/educate about the scale of the emergency:

  • It’s a 1300 word document. There’s no mention of the words “crisis”, “emergency”, “catastrophe”.

  • There’s only one use of “extinction”: “Plant and animal extinctions are predicted…” and no mention of potential human extinction, nor of the 60% of animal species that have gone extinct since 1970.

  • A headline news issue? But “Science & Environment” is currently sixth category on BBC News website, after UK, World, Business, Politics, & Tech.

  • The document strikes a generally sceptical tone: 

  • Subtitle “BBC News looks at what we know and don't know about the Earth's changing climate.” 

  • Reply to question “How will climate change affect us?” is nowhere close to commensurate: “There are varying degrees of uncertainty about the scale of potential impacts. But the changes could drive freshwater shortages, bring sweeping changes in food production conditions, and increase the number of deaths from floods, storms, heat waves and droughts.This is because climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events - though linking any single event to global warming is complicated. Scientists forecast more rainfall overall, but say the risk of drought in inland areas during hot summers will increase. More flooding is expected from storms and rising sea levels. There are, however, likely to be very strong regional variations in these patterns. Poorer countries, which are least equipped to deal with rapid change, could suffer the most.”


BBC’s position on fair reporting of climate change

“ ‘Due impartiality’ is often more than a simple matter of 'balance' between opposing viewpoints.  Equally, it does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.” - BBC impartiality guidelines


BBC’s Internal Guidance on How to Report Climate Change

  • Man-made climate change exists: If the science proves it we should report it. The BBC accepts that the best science on the issue is the IPCC’s position.

  • Be aware of ‘false balance’: As climate change is accepted as happening, you do not need a ‘denier’ to balance the debate. Although there are those who disagree with the IPCC’s position, very few of them now go so far as to deny that climate change is happening. To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken. However, the BBC does not exclude any shade of opinion from its output, and with appropriate challenge from a knowledgeable interviewer, there may be occasions to hear from a denier.

  • There are occasions where contrarians and sceptics should be included within climate change and sustainability debates. These may include, for instance, debating the speed and intensity of what will happen in the future, or what policies government should adopt. Again, journalists need to be aware of the guest’s viewpoint and how to challenge it effectively. As with all topics, we must make clear to the audience which organisation the speaker represents, potentially how that group is funded and whether they are speaking with authority from a scientific perspective – in short, making their affiliations and previously expressed opinions clear.






The beating of the bounds is an ancient ritual performed to pray for protection.

We will be creating a humdrum of noise around the BBC building (drums, voices etc.) so our message cannot be ignored - it will soon be too late to act to prevent climate and ecological disaster - they must listen, and act with us, now.


LIGHT symbolises TRUTH

We are forming the XR symbol in candles outside the BBC building, to call upon our Public Service Broadcaster to convey the truth of the severity of the climate and ecological emergency we are experiencing, and the urgent action needed to address this. 





We are going to jam the BBC phone lines (phone numbers below) all day with calls about the climate emergency until it sinks in! Let the operator know that you think the BBC needs to do more to cover the climate emergency and read out our requests. Click here for the requests.

Pick up the phone and help us out 

BBC Contacts

Complaints Form :

Comments Phone Number: 03704 101060

Complaints: 03700 100 222

So today's BBC online story about XR (below) perfectly demonstrates why tomorrow's action is necessary - Whilst generally factually correct, the video doesn't convey the dire situation scientists say we're in, that has lead to the movement - and that the government is NOT on track to hit its own targets mentioned in the statement, which themselves do NOT keep us on a safe path.
The headline shows why it's necessary to take the direct action, as instead of having a headline "Climate change on track to ruin civilisation", it's about those taking direct action - without these actions this story may not exist at all



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