This was the contents of my letter to the BBC Trust Unit:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the BBC Trust,
2nd March: A referendum concerning links to the Westminster Parliament was to be held by the Welsh Assembly the next day, and this was an important issue for those of us living in
3rd March: Mr Vine discussed “Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been given government approval for its controversial takeover of BSkyB”. I considered that use of the word “controversial” and the absence of a News Corporation representative in the discussion showed some anti-Murdoch bias.
14th March: Mr Vine discussed the
15th March: In a follow-up discussion on
17th March: Mr Vine discussed a bullying video that appeared on YouTube but which had been removed before the programme started. I considered it impossible to form my own opinion on the video when I was unable to see it, and I did not want to rely solely on Mr Vine’s description.
21st June: 2DAY, and Mr Vine took part in a morning documentary programme. As 2DAY was meant to show the range of Radio 2’s output to listeners who would not normally listen at a particular time of day, I considered that dropping the normal programme style failed to do that and deprived other listeners of the chance to listen to Radio 2’s unique and premier news and current affairs output.
3rd August: Since Mr Vine’s introduction to Twitter, the daily update to the show web page was becoming later and later. Mr Vine would tweet a four-word teaser before 10am each morning, so it was clear that the programme’s topics were known by this time. I considered that non-Twitter users should have the same timely access to this information and that every effort should be made to update the show web page before the programme started.
26th September: Mr Vine’s Twitter page states “All views personal of course” but he uses his Twitter account in a far more interactive way with specific regard to his Radio 2 programme than any other BBC presenter of which I am aware. Following my “blocking”, I considered that Mr Vine appeared reluctant to accept challenging or critical comments yet provided no alternative method for passing on such comments with the ease that Twitter provides. I also considered that the distinction between a personal Twitter account and one that actively promoted a BBC programme and encouraged discussion on that same BBC programme had become blurred and needed to be clarified. I made a comparison with Mr Vine’s personal and unpublicised BBC email address and the publicised email address used specifically for his programme.
29th September: Mr Vine published a photo of his programme script on Twitter that read "Martin McGuiness is standing to be IRISH PRESIDENT. Should he first admit how many people he has killed?". I considered that Mr Vine’s public statement that assumed Mr McGuiness to be guilty of murder without any evidence to support such an accusation was unfair.
30th September: I had noticed that a large number of links on Mr Vine’s show web page would be to web pages belonging to various newspapers, but that these were no longer being used and only links to BBC web pages were included. While I was happy to read the BBC's view of events it was also good to read the alternative viewpoints expressed elsewhere in the media, and I considered that I was being deprived of this useful background information. Following my complaint the links to newspaper web pages were reinstated.
11th October: Ref. 6th October programme: Following the unfortunate death of Steve Jobs, Mr Vine chose to devote 30 minutes of his programme to his death and his technical innovations. It was described thus on his web page: "How did Apple change your world? Can you remember the first time you marvelled at an Apple product?". I considered that the death of Mr Jobs was only of secondary importance in a segment that turned in to a promotion for Apple products of all kinds, and without mention of "other similar products are available from other manufacturers".
13th December: This was a repeat of my 3rd August complaint as web page updates were still getting later and later, and sometimes not occurring until some hours after the programme had finished. Mr Roger’s email of 25th January 2012 informed me “that the programme holds the right to publish website content at a time convenient to it”. I consider this to be unacceptable.
4th January: I read two BBC documents that gave instruction for staff on how to use social networking media, and Twitter in particular. I found no mention of when a Twitter follower should be “blocked”, and no mention of any reason why this should occur. I considered that Mr Vine was using a so-called personal Twitter account in an official capacity and which was promoted heavily in connection with his programme. I also considered that his many suggestions of “You can follow me on Twitter” were unfair to those of us who he had chosen to “block”. I was asked to write to the Editorial Complaints Unit on this matter, which I did on 21st January 2012, but I have yet to receive a reply. Again, I am assuming that I will not receive one.
19th January 2012: Mr Vine discussed the Costa Concordia capsize on five days (2.5 hours of air time, less music) yet chose to ignore other concurrent news stories that I considered to be of more importance and interest. While I accept that the accident was certainly worthy of discussion, I considered that it had had too much coverage.
19th January: Mr Vine discussed a video featuring an altercation between a policeman and a cyclist and that had appeared on YouTube. The actual incident occurred before June 2011 but no mention was made of this, and I considered this to be misleading. In addition, there was no mention of the subsequent action taken by the police and the cyclist which had been well-publicised elsewhere. Mr Vine also showed a poor knowledge of the law in such incidents and went on to doubt the information given by an expert in the studio, which I considered to be disrespectful and dismissive.