July 8, 2009

BBC gets complaints over Jackson coverage

The BBC has received numerous complaints regarding its extensive coverage of pop star Michael Jackson's public memorial service in Los Angeles.

The singer died last month at the age of 50 after suffering cardiac arrest following a suspected drug overdose.

The Daily Telegraph said the British broadcaster is being accused by viewers of playing into the cult of personality because it dedicated its BBC News and international BBC World News channels to Tuesday's star-studded ceremony, which lasted more than two hours.

BBC Two also interrupted its early evening schedule to broadcast live from the memorial at the Staples Center, while its Radio 1 station covered the event from London. The BBC's high-definition channel aired the tribute, as well, the Telegraph said.

It actually doesn't matter what that single issue is but even Sept. 11 (2001) and July 7 (2005) weren't reported to the almost total exclusion of other news. It is pandering to the cult of personality, one complaint read. The death of any person is regrettable, but as far as numbers are concerned there are more people to whom other news is more important.

The newspaper said the BBC and the media regulator Ofcom are expected to release shortly the number of complaints the broadcaster has received regarding its coverage of the memorial.

The BBC reportedly received 748 complaints last week regarding its wall-to-wall coverage of Jackson's death.