BBC hit by 572 complaints over ‘inaccurate’ Countryfile report on BAME people living in the countryside


THE BBC has been hit by 572 complaints over an ‘inaccurate’ Countryfile report on BAME people living in the countryside.

Last month the BBC show aired a report which suggested that “many in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups see the countryside as being a white environment”.

A message on its Twitter account at the time the programme was broadcast on Sunday June 28 provoked a confused and angry backlash as people didn’t understand why the countryside was seen as not for minorities.

Now the BBC has revealed it received 572 complaints about the segment, citing the main issue as “Report on members of the BAME community
living in the countryside felt to be inaccurate.”

The programme’s report drew on research from the Government’s Environment Department, published last year, which said that some ethnic groups felt UK national parks were a “white environment”.

During the segment, presenter Dwayne Fields said: “When I talk to people from the BAME community, it’s clear that they don’t view the UK countryside as somewhere that’s for them.

While @DwayneFields found solace in the landscapes of the UK and beyond, many in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups see the countryside as being a white environment #countryfile

“It’s not theirs, they don’t belong there. And I want to find out why. As it happens, I am not the only one. Last September, a national review of England’s national parks was published by DEFRA.

“They found the countryside is seen by both BAME and white people alike as being very much a white environment.

“The review also concluded that if that is true today, the divide is only going to widen as society changes.”

Dwayne works with the Scouts and the National Trust – who are “working to get more diversity into the outdoors”.

He added: “We need to understand some of the barriers that black and ethnic minority people face when they come to the countryside.”

But users on social media were quick to vent their feelings at the suggestion that the countrywide wasn’t welcoming to all.

One hit back: “This is absurd. To imply that the countryside – a passive, welcoming phenomenon- is somehow racist is ridiculous.

“Worse, licence payers are funding this divisive propaganda.”

Another said: “The BBC labelling us all racist again. I’m sick of this.”

A third person wrote: “What an utter load of large bulls testicles!!! BBC yet again causing a racism storm in a teacup!

“Nobody is preventing anyone from BME groups from accessing the countryside! Honestly, this is becoming so tiresome!!!”

A spokesperson for BBC Countryfile said at the time:  “Countryfile based the segment on an independent Defra report published last September and we felt it was important to examine such issues now more than ever, particularly in light of recent events.”


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