Why did the BBC manipulate this genuine photograph of white voter’s hand to make it black?
- Politicians have rounded on the BBC after staff seemingly doctored the image
The BBC was facing questions last night after it admitted using a ‘blacked up’ image as part of its election coverage.
Politicians rounded on the corporation after it emerged staff might have doctored an image of a white woman’s hand to make it look like it was that of a black voter.
An almost identical photo with a white hand had been used in a previous story about voting four years earlier.
Both photos show a female hand with a French manicure, and blue and white striped cuffs, putting a blank piece of paper in a Welsh ballot box.
The original image with the white hand is bylined Getty Images and was used on the BBC news website in 2018 in an article about lowering the voting age in Wales.
The altered image with the black hand was used in March last year in a story about Welsh council elections.
The BBC was facing questions last night after it admitted using a ‘blacked up’ image (pictured) as part of its election coverage
An almost identical photo with a white hand had been used in a previous story about voting four years earlier
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘Why on earth would anyone want to change the colour of a hand? The BBC has serious questions to answer. First, they have got to explain why on earth that happened. What was the reasoning for it? What was the thought behind it? What were they trying to say? Why did they falsify the image?
‘The BBC is supposed to be neutral and present factual evidence.’
He added: ‘They can’t say this was an accident because that doesn’t make any sense to me. They have really got serious questions to answer.’
Another Conservative politician Bill Cash said: ‘This is a good indication of the way in which there are elements of the BBC who want to create a misleading impression.This is part of the fundamental problem with impartiality.’ Both articles and images can still be found on the BBC news website.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘It appears that the photograph used as part of this graphic has been altered, which, although there is no intention to mislead, should not have happened and is not acceptable BBC practice. We will be reminding our staff of this.’
The BBC has previously been criticised for its focus on identity issues and diversity, with some accusing it of being unduly influenced by ‘woke’ politics.
After the murder of George Floyd sparked global protests in 2020, the corporation faced criticism over its coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tory MP Peter Bone (pictured) said: ‘Why on earth would anyone want to change the colour of a hand? The BBC has serious questions to answer.’
That year, sitcom The Vicar Of Dibley sparked hundreds of complaints after airing a scene which appeared to show support for the movement. The channel’s New Year’s Eve broadcast that year also attracted complaints, after the fireworks display referenced Black Lives Matter.
The BBC has also made staff complete controversial ‘unconscious bias’ training as part of ‘diversity and inclusion’ rules.
However Left-wing activists have criticised the corporation for not doing enough to support the movement. In November 2020, Femi Oluwole questioned why BBC presenters could wear remembrance poppies but not express support for Black Lives Matter after new impartiality guidance.
While the movement is known for its campaigning against police brutality and structural racism, it also has another set of goals including a desire to ‘dismantle’ capitalism and abolish the police.
In the US it recently emerged that just 33 per cent of Black Lives Matter’s accumulated donations of $90million (£71million) were given to charitable causes. Figures showed between 2020 and 2022 the group spent about $30million (£24million). It also emerged that friends and family of co-founder Patrisse Cullors benefitted, including her graffiti artist brother, Paul, who got $1.7million (£1.4million) in salary and contracts for this period.
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