Top journalist hits out at investigative reporting poll

Waithera JunghaeBy Waithera Junghae

A leading journalist has spoken out against the findings of a survey which rated the BBC as one of the top sources of investigative journalism in the UK.

Professor Gavin Macfayden, Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, told London Journalism Centre that the broadcaster should not have been included in the poll because the BBC was part of the establishment and online journalism did better investigative work.

“The BBC should not even feature,” he said. “There are some exceptions like Panorama, but the BBC would never take on the government. The internet is a good source of investigative journalism all round.”

Macfayden was also critical of other results of the poll which rated the BBC, the Guardian and the Telegraph as the top three media organisations carrying out investigative journalism.

“The Guardian is strongest in print, and Channel four has done some good investigations,” he said. “But only a small percentage of the Telegraph’s output is on investigative journalism.”

Of the 1800 people surveyed for the YouGov poll, 61 per cent said that the BBC was good or very good at investigative journalism, while 58 per cent rated the Guardian good, and 53 per cent gave the Telegraph a high rating.

The poll also revealed that 65 per cent thought that investigative journalism in the UK was having a positive impact on democracy. Over a quarter of those surveyed (33 per cent) said that if investigative journalism by traditional media declined, the gap would not be “adequately fulfilled by citizen journalists through digital media.”

Nearly half of respondents said that there were “too many legal restrictions and risks for journalists these days” and 34% wanted a change in the law to help journalists carry out their work.

The YouGov poll was conducted in association with the London Press Club.